Professor Alastair Ager, a specialist in global health and humanitarian response will leave his position at a New York university to take up the post of Director of International Health and Development at Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh. Professor Ager will begin his new role in Edinburgh in July 2015.
Alastair has worked in the field of global health and development for over 25 years and has previously held positions in Scotland, England, Malawi and the USA. As Professor of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at the Columbia University in New York, Alastair currently runs a doctoral programme on Leadership in Global Health and Humanitarian Systems supporting mid-career professionals in leadership development.
A major focus of his current research is evaluation of humanitarian programming for refugee children (funded by DFID, the Wellcome Trust, UNICEF and World Vision), which has recently involved studies of Somalis displaced to Ethiopia, Congolese displaced to Uganda and Syrians displaced to Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. His current research also addresses health systems resilience in contexts of adversity (studies in the Middle East, West and South Africa) and the engagement of local faith communities in humanitarian response – the latter involving local faith group engagement with refugees in Jordan.
Professor Ager was formerly Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Malawi, Director of the Centre for International Health Studies at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, and Senior Research Manager for the UK Department for International Development, with responsibility for the agency’s global portfolio of health and education research. He has wide international experience as a lecturer, researcher and consultant across sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, Europe and North America, working with a range of inter-governmental, non-governmental and governmental agencies.
He is a Board Member of the Antares Foundation which supports the well-being of humanitarian workers, a member of the Funding Committee of the DFID and Wellcome Trust-funded Research in Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) initiative and co-chair of the learning hub on resilience of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities. He is author of over one hundred scholarly publications. On re-joining Queen Margaret University, Professor Ager will continue his academic affiliation with Columbia University with a view to facilitating research collaboration between both institutions.
Dr Fiona Coutts, Dean of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University, said: “We are delighted that Professor Ager will be returning to QMU. Over the years he has gained a wealth of experience in global health and development and has an impressive background in the leadership of education programmes and in research. We believe that he will build on the excellent work achieved by the Institute over the last few years, and that the progressive work of the team will continue to have an impact on the lives of thousands of people all over the world – those who have been displaced, are seeking asylum, are affected by disaster or conflict or communities which require improvements to healthcare systems.
“Professor Ager’s appointment confirms Queen Margaret University’s aim of being a socially relevant university which responds to some of the most pressing needs of society, and its commitment to improving quality of life.”