September 16, 2021

Matthew Kavanagh, director of the Global Health Policy and Politics Initiative at the O’Neill Institute, has been appointed as a special advisor to the executive director for policy, advocacy, and knowledge at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

In this position, Kavanagh will assist UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima in creating the new Policy, Advocacy, and Knowledge branch that will support and advance the new Global AIDS Strategy. He will play a crucial role in building out “the new and continuing work in human rights and gender, HIV financing, knowledge management, and influence,” noted Byanyima in her announcement.

“Matthew Kavanagh is a world-class scholar and global health leader, and we at the O’Neill Institute could not be more proud of his appointment,” said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute. “With his compassion and dedication to his work, I could not think of a better person to take a senior role at UNAIDS and advance the Global AIDS Strategy.”

Since joining the O’Neill Institute in 2017, Kavanagh has focused on the role of law and policy in global health responses — addressing challenges such as COVID-19, HIV, and tuberculosis. As program director, he has not only led projects on global health governance and community-led monitoring, but has also played a large role in the creation of the HIV Policy Lab and COVID-19 Law Lab. At Georgetown University, he is also an assistant professor at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

“While we will miss Matt at the institute in the coming year, his work in creating the new Policy, Advocacy, and Knowledge branch for UNAIDS will have a profound impact on the global HIV landscape,” said Katie Gottschalk, executive director of the O’Neill Institute.

Kavanagh will take a leave of absence from his role at the O’Neill Institute for one year while he serves at UNAIDS. During his leave, the Global Health Policy and Politics team will be led by Sharonann Lynch and Ngozi Erondu.