Zero Leprosy Secretariat Director Moves to New Task Force Role

The inaugural Secretariat Director of The Task Force’s Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy, Courtenay Dusenbury, MPH, is handing off that role to take on a new part-time position guiding The Task Force’s work on U.S. and global health policies.

Photo caption: Dusenbury with fellow zero leprosy partner. 

Dusenbury joined the Partnership in January 2018, just as it was preparing to launch. She  brought a background in global health partnerships and prior experience as Founding Director of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes and Federal Affairs Director at Emory University.

As the Secretariat Director, Dusenbury worked with the Partnership’s Leadership Team and partners around the world to develop and execute the Partnership’s first years of growth.Seeing the partners come together with full enthusiasm and commitment to developing a shared vision for Zero Leprosy has been very rewarding,” she said.

In the Partnership’s earliest stage, Dusenbury supported partners in navigating differing perspectives, communication styles, and approaches, to work toward the Partnership’s common goal: reaching zero leprosy. She is particularly proud of its Action Framework, which serves as a clear road map for how partners will work together toward zero leprosy, including funding for the priorities of a joint research agenda, partnerships with country programs, resource mobilization, and amplifying the voices of persons affected by leprosy. 

The Partnership ranks in the top 100 applicants of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change 2020 grant, a collaboration that opened up new avenues for resources. Joint visioning and discussions have allowed partners to see that all contributions to the shared goal are valuable and necessary,” said Dusenbury.

Dusenbury worked with the Leadership Team to guide the Partnership over new hurdles these past few months throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners joined forces to support National Leprosy Programme Managers in assessing and addressing emergency needs, access to multi-drug therapy, and follow-up care. The trust in each other and hard work of these partners, developed over the past two years, has benefited the entire community,” she said.

Dusenbury leaves the Partnership with gratitude for the partners and collaborators who have taken the time to educate her and share their perspectives and experiences of leprosy. 

Getting to know the people who have dedicated their lives to working to end human transmission of leprosy and ensuring human rights for those who have experienced the disease has been a true honor,” Dusenbury said. “It was an honor to work with these esteemed individuals.”

What does the future hold? Dusenbury is excited to see the Partnership applying its Action Framework with expanded country-level partnerships and implementation and plans to stay connected from her new position at The Task Force. 

In her new position, Dusenbury will build relationships with the U.S. Congress, World Health Organization, and other global health organizations advocating on the international and national levels. “I am looking forward to continuing to do what I can to contribute to this incredible community from my new position,” she said.

On behalf of The Task Force, the Partnership, and its members, we thank Dusenbury for her foundational work at the Partnership.

Header photo caption: Dusenbury meets with zero leprosy partners in India. India remains one of the most affected countries from leprosy.

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