March 31, 2023

Washington, D.C. — Today, the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law announces that Matthew Kavanagh has resumed his position as director of the Global Health Policy and Politics Initiative and faculty at the Georgetown School of Health. From September 2021 to January 2023, Kavanagh served as interim Deputy Executive Director and special advisor to Executive Director Winnie Byanyima in creating the new Policy, Advocacy, and Knowledge branch at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Kavanagh was responsible for UNAIDS’ work to advance policy, law, financing, and political strategies to end the AIDS pandemic. While at UNAIDS, Kavanagh stood up the structures to achieve the ambitious new Global AIDS Strategy focused on closing the inequalities that underly today’s continuing AIDS pandemic. He built new global strategic initiatives on decriminalizing key populations and access to new biomedical prevention tools and launched pathbreaking reports on HIV and inequality. He will continue as an advisor to the UNAIDS Executive Director from Washington, D.C.

“Serving at the United Nations, alongside visionary colleagues, and working to tackle the deep inequalities that are driving AIDS and today’s multiple pandemics was deeply rewarding,” said Kavanagh. “I look forward to taking all the experience and insight I gained at UNAIDS to advance the O’Neill Institute’s important work on tackling global health issues. It’s great to be back in Washington with my Georgetown University colleagues.”

Under Kavanagh’s leadership at O’Neill, the Global Health Policy and Politics Initiative aims to further advance the effective use of law and policy in response to global public health challenges, including HIV, COVID-19, and tuberculosis.

On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, the initiative will host an event on global health financing with UNAIDS, Georgetown University School of Health, and Friends of the Global Fight on the sidelines of the International Financial Institutions’ spring meetings. The event will feature UNAIDS Executive Director Byanyima and many other speakers.


For further comment or to schedule an interview, please contact Joann Donnellan at