Dr. Mike Ryan is a name that you have probably heard mentioned on several occasions recently. He is a member of the team of experts at the World Health Organization. He serves as Doctor and the Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. He has been in the position since the 1980s and has extensive practical experience dealing with the health of the entire planet. To help you become more familiar with this key player in the orchestration of international health concerns, here are ten things that you probably didn't know about him.
1. His Birthday
Dr. Ryan was born in Sligo Ireland in 1965. He is currently between the ages of 54 and 55. His parents named him Michael Joseph Ryan. His home town is Curry not far from Tubbercurry, of County Sligo. He was raised in County Mayo in the town of Charleston. His father was by occupation a merchant sailor.
2. Ryan is well-credentialed in the medical field
Michael Ryan attended the National University of Ireland in Galway where he received his formal training in medicine. He earned his MBBS and was first trained as trauma and orthopedic surgeon. He went to Scotland where he received formal training in orthopedics. He continued his education and training at the University College Dublin, earning his Masters of Public Health, which would help to prepare him for his current post. He went on to complete more specialized training in infectious disease, communicable disease control, and public health from the London Health Protection Agency. Ryan continued to advance his knowledge of public health and related topics at the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training, commonly known as EPIET. He has a solid educational foundation for the work that he currently performs.
3. He is the team leader for the COVID-19 response
Mike is leading the World Health Organization's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is one of the most significant events concerning the health of the inhabitants of the planet in recent years. He leads the effort to bring containment and treatment for the Novel Coronavirus on an international level. This is a heavy burden and an awesome responsibility, but it's of some consolation to know that the man who is leading the team of exceptional experts from across the globe is truly the best one for the job. He is currently one of the most brilliant minds in the industry.
4. Michael is a born leader with a proven track record
The act of containing a pandemic disease is no simple task. This is not his first experience with mass outbreaks of infectious disease. He has led many outbreak response teams throughout his career. To give you an idea of his leadership experience in this arena, he led teams that tackled Shigellosis, SARS, Rift Valley Fever, relapsing fever, meningitis, measles, bacillary dysentery, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, cholera, Ebola, adn Marburg virus disease.
5. He is a skilled strategic planner
Ryan served as the Director of Global Alert and Response Operations for the World Health Organization from 2005 through 2011. He was in charge of the organization's Strategic Health Operations Centre as well as its Event Management System. He is one of the members of the team that developed and implemented the WHO International Health Regulations simultaneously while responding to epidemics and threats from various pathogens.
6. He put his life on the line to help others
It's important that the world knows what kind of man is leading the WHO in their efforts to save lives and eradicate the Novel Coronavirus. Dr. Michael Ryan has put his own personal safety at risk in the name of helping others who are desperate for medical aid. From 2000 to 2003, he entered regions where disease and the threat of military conflicts created a double threat. He physically went with the teams dispatched to Uganda as the leader when the Ebola epidemic broke out. He also traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where many aid workers were attacked and even killed by insurgents.
7. Mike is juggling massive amounts of data
As leader of the World Health Organization's fight against the current pandemic, Dr. Ryan is charged with not only eradicating the disease, but also in mitigating media questions about the responses that various countries are taking to inhibit the spread of the disease. His commentaries are direct and to the point and he shares detailed observations that are based on the hard facts that are currently available. He is well informed about what is going on across the world and he points out where people are the most vulnerable.
8. Ryan does not sugar coat the situation
Dr. Ryan is direct in pointing out the regions throughout the world where COVID-19 has not yet spread and he is hopeful that the disease can be contained prior to reaching some of the more isolated areas, thus protecting the most vulnerable in these areas. He has not offered false hope about the situation as he discusses ways of lessening the impact, which is possible, but he cautions that this pandemic will in fact continue and worsen in the weeks and even months to come. At this point, containment is key, but he ventured that this pandemic will continue for an extended period of time. He points out that we must break the problem of the pandemic down to components while going after the virus, but we can only hope to "dampen the flames" at this point in time.
9. He addressed current criticisms of the United States Federal Government.
US response to the situation. He supports the measures currently being taken and has made it clear that the federal government is working with the WHO and is taking the appropriate steps to ensure that the spiderwebs of issues including public health, social stability, economic health, and medical supply chains are supported to the best of our abilities.
10. His analysis helps us to focus and center
Ryan has a manner that is calm and collected as he reports on the facts surrounding the world's current fight against the pandemic. Although the outlook is stark, it is not bleak. He first points out the problem as it is today. He is not a fan of making projections because we don't have enough information available to do so. He limits the kinds of projections that he assigns to the spread of this disease as he also realizes that these would likely be empty data sets with little realistic and factual bases. He simply works with the facts without sensationalizing nor downplaying the current situation. He also reported that there is no evidence that the virus is manmade and that it likely evolved through nature, not man.
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Written by Allen Lee
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