Aurora Prize Laureate Tom Catena to Speak at the 2019 World Health Summit

Globally recognized humanitarian, physician and Chair of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will reflect on his experience treating patients in remote, war-torn areas of Sudan and offer insights on the impact of healthcare

YEREVAN—Dr. Tom Catena, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Chair and 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate, will participate as speaker at the 2019 World Health Summit to take place on October 27 to 29, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Catena will join leading healthcare experts and decision-makers from around the globe to discuss ways to advance global health agendas and promote science thought leadership. 

Dr. Catena, an American physician, joined the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative as its inaugural Chair in December 2018. He is also the founder and Medical Director of the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Sudan where for the past decade he has served as the only surgeon permanently based in the war-ravaged Nuba Mountains region. 

“As part of the Aurora community of humanitarians, it is a great honor to attend the World Health Summit and speak about issues so close to our hearts and essential to Aurora’s mission,” said Dr. Catena. “The World Health Summit brings together people who are keen on finding efficient solutions and eliminating obstacles so that no man, woman or child is ever left behind. In Nuba, I’ve witnessed the power of that philosophy with my own eyes.”

Dr. Catena will speak at a keynote session titled “Transforming Human Capital: Investing in Health and Education,” along with representatives from KPMG, the World Bank and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Dr. Catena will also join the former German Minister of Health, Hermann Gröhe and Siemens Healthineers CEO Dr. Bernd Montag at a side event titled “Breaking the Silos – Improving Global Health through Collaborative Action.”

Attracting 2,500 high-level participants from 100 countries, the World Health Summit has become one of the preeminent annual forums for opinion leaders from politics, academia, civil society and the healthcare industry to discuss joint opportunities and responsibilities in improving global health. 

Dr. Catena’s participation at the World Healthcare Summit is part of a broader agenda of speaking engagements spanning Europe, North America and Africa. In Europe, Dr. Catena will be participating at the inaugural Aurora Forum and the 2019 Aurora Prize Ceremony to take place in Yerevan, Armenia in October. In November, he will attend the Paris Peace Forum among other events. 

Dr. Catena’s speaking commitments in Africa include the AidEx Nairobi Conference, a high-profile event focused on aid and development within Africa, and his participation in the 25th anniversary of Maison Shalom, an organization founded by 2016 Aurora Prize Laureate Marguerite Barankitse that works with orphans and victims of violence.

In the United States, Dr. Catena will give lectures at Columbia University and Duke University and participate in the Annual Conference for the Catholic Medical Association (CMA) in Nashville, Tennessee.

About the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative

Founded on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to empower modern-day saviors to offer life and hope to those in urgent need of basic humanitarian aid anywhere in the world and thus continue the cycle of giving internationally. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is Gratitude in Action. It is an eight-year commitment (2015 to 2023, in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1923) to support people and promote global projects that tackle the needs of the most helpless and destitute and do so at great risk. This is achieved through the Initiative’s various programs: The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, the Aurora Dialogues, the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the Gratitude Projects and the 100 LIVES Initiative. The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is the vision of philanthropists Vartan Gregorian, Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan who have been joined by more than 440 new supporters and partners. Our Chair, Dr. Tom Catena, draws on his experience as a surgeon, veteran, humanitarian and the 2017 Aurora Prize laureate to spread the message of Gratitude in Action to a global audience. The Initiative welcomes all who embrace a commitment to our shared humanity. 

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is represented by three organizations – Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Foundation, Inc. (New York, USA), the 100 Lives Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland) and the IDeA Foundation (Yerevan, Armenia). 

More information is available at

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