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FIND Chair Dr Ayoade Alakija welcomes Rick Bright and Michèle Costafrolaz to the FIND Board

  • At the FIND Board meeting last week, the appointments of Rick Bright and Michèle Costafrolaz were confirmed
  • FIND thanked outgoing Board members Daniel Camus, Marcel Tanner, and Carlos Morel
  • The FIND Board met with WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to discuss strategic partnerships following the adoption of the diagnostics Resolution at World Health Assembly

Dr Ayoade Alakija, Chair of the FIND Board, said “We are honored to announce the addition of Dr Rick Bright and Michèle Costafrolaz to the esteemed FIND Board. Their appointments align with FIND’s commitment to ensuring equitable access to diagnostics and health for all, particularly those most in need.

“The addition of these accomplished professionals marks an important milestone for FIND, following the recent conclusion of the Board terms of Daniel Camus, Marcel Tanner, and Carlos Morel. FIND extends heartfelt gratitude to the outgoing Board members for their invaluable contributions, unwavering dedication, and profound commitment to the organization’s lifesaving mission.”

Rick Bright brings unparalleled expertise in biodefense, emergency preparedness and response, and the development of vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. Having held pivotal roles such as CEO of the Pandemic Prevention Institute at The Rockefeller Foundation and Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), he has made significant contributions to global health. With a decade of experience in vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics development at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Bright has received numerous accolades for his outstanding scientific achievements. His advisory roles with prestigious organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations further attest to his remarkable capabilities.

Michèle Costafrolaz, a highly accomplished finance professional, joins the FIND Board as the Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee, bringing invaluable insights and strategic guidance to the organization. With an impressive background spanning three decades at Deloitte, she has excelled in financial audit and business advisory services. Her leadership positions in esteemed organizations like the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Ermewa Holding SA have solidified her reputation as a trusted expert in financial oversight.

Bill Rodriguez, CEO of FIND, expressed his gratitude to outgoing Board members Daniel Camus, Marcel Tanner, and Carlos Morel, lauding their guidance and unwavering support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reflecting on their tenure, he said: “I am extremely grateful for their counsel in these recent, challenging years. COVID-19 made the world realize the value of diagnostics, and for our organization that meant a period of intense work and rapid growth – and unique demands on all our Board members who stepped up without hesitation.”

Rodriguez continued: “As Board terms conclude for Daniel, Marcel, and Carlos, I am excited to welcome Rick Bright and Michèle Costafrolaz. Rick’s unparalleled experience, especially in emergency preparedness and response, will be critically important to FIND as we continue to work with countries to boost health systems for both disease surveillance and patient care. Michèle brings a wealth of financial acumen and her oversight and guidance will bring great value to our operations.”

During the Board meeting, Chair Dr Alakija led a FIND delegation to meet with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, Assistant Directors General Dr Hanan Balkhy and Dr Yukiko Nakatani, and Chef du Cabinet, Dr Razia Pendse. Together, they engaged in fruitful discussions on strategic partnerships, including supporting the implementation of the momentous diagnostics Resolution adopted at the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva last month. At this historic meeting, FIND was confirmed as the strategic partner for WHO on diagnostics.

Following the meeting, Dr Tedros tweeted: “We look forward to strenthening our partnership with FIND, which will be key for equitable access to diagnosis across the world.”

Commenting on the meeting, Dr Alakija said: “We extend our thanks to the WHO Director-General and his team for the meeting. This partnership marks a turning point for us. FIND remains dedicated to effecting significant health impact through its mission of facilitating equitable access to reliable diagnosis for all. The recent endorsement of the diagnostics Resolution by Member States at the World Health Assembly underscored the pivotal role of testing in the prevention, diagnosis, monitoring, and effective treatment of communicable, non-communicable, tropical, and rare diseases, as well as disabilities and injuries. As Chair of the Board, I eagerly anticipate overseeing FIND’s efforts in assisting countries in the implementation of this crucial Resolution.”

At a time when not only the health sector but the world face unprecedented global challenges, and financial constraints, investing in diagnostics emerges as a beacon of hope, vital for safeguarding health security for all.

FIND demonstrates that prioritizing diagnostics is a smart investment, saving lives and demonstrating cost-effectiveness in healthcare. By supporting the drive for equitable access to reliable diagnosis for all, we collectively invest in a healthy future.

Directing resources and support towards diagnostics lays the groundwork for comprehensive health systems that effectively combat the multifaceted threats we face today. Through FIND’s unwavering commitment to innovation and collaboration in diagnostics, we address the complex needs of disease surveillance, universal health coverage, and pandemic preparedness.

Dr Alakija concluded: “Amid these tumultuous times, the Board remains resolute in our shared vision: to create a future where health security is strengthened, lives are saved, and healthcare costs are optimized. Prevention, indeed, is better than cure.”

In another development reinforcing FIND’s operational management, Norma Torres has been appointed as Chief Operations Officer, effective 1 July 2023. Ms Torres brings a wealth of experience, having served in key roles at Greenpeace, including interim International Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer, and International Finance Director.

FIND remains steadfast in its pursuit of transforming health systems through diagnostics and reaffirms its commitment to global health security, universal health coverage, and pandemic preparedness.

The full FIND Board now comprises:

  • Ayoade (Yodi) Alakija, Chair
  • Rick Bright
  • Michèle Costafrolaz
  • Christian Frutiger
  • David Heymann
  • Shobana Kamineni
  • Ilona Kickbusch
  • Malebona Precious Matsoso
  • Soumya Swaminathan
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About FIND

FIND accelerates equitable access to reliable diagnosis around the world. We are working to close critical testing gaps that leave people at risk from preventable and treatable illnesses, enable effective disease surveillance, and build sustainable, resilient health systems. In partnership with countries, WHO and other global health agencies, we are driving progress towards global health security and universal health coverage. We are a WHO Collaborating Centre for Laboratory Strengthening and Diagnostic Technology Evaluation. For more information, please visit