Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO's Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases

Dr Douglas William Bettcher is the Director the Department for Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland. He was previously the Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative Department, which has now become an integral programme within the new Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases Department.

He has a multidisciplinary background and holds a PhD in International Relations and a Graduate Diploma in World Politics, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science; a Master’s of Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Alberta, Canada. In addition, he sits on the Editorial Board of the scientific journal Bulletin of the World Health Organization and has served as vice-chair of the public health interest group of the American Society of International Law and as a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Global Governance.

Dr Bettcher has written widely on several topics, including globalization and health, foreign policy and health security, international law and public health, noncommunicable diseases prevention and control, tobacco control, and trade and other health policy issues.

He has international and country-level experience (in both developing and developed countries) in tobacco control, and was WHO's principal focal point for providing Secretariat support for the negotiation of WHO's first treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Dr Bettcher is actively involved with WHO's work in the implementation of the Political Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, New York, 2011. Furthermore, Dr Bettcher is responsible for coordinating WHO’s work for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, and in this capacity provides global leadership for the implementation of the prevention component of the Political declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. Dr Bettcher’s current portfolio includes oversight for WHO’s work on NCD risk factor prevention (including tobacco use, diet and physical inactivity), health promotion, and NCD risk factor surveillance.

In the area of tobacco control, Dr Bettcher is responsible for coordinating the WHO’s work with the Convention Secretariat to the WHO FCTC to support the comprehensive implementation of the WHO FCTC; for the scaling up of WHO's country-level tobacco control work, as one of the five partners in the Bloomberg Initiative for Reducing Tobacco Use, and for overseeing the implementation of the WHO project to establish a capacity building resource center for tobacco control in Africa, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Finally, he has also worked in the areas of clinical medicine, public health and, international health policy in a number of countries, notably in developing countries, including Ethiopia and Jamaica.