Board and Staff of Mental Health in Human Rights - FGIP

Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP is governed by a Federation Council consisting of both chairpersons of the boards of the member organizations of the Federation and a number of selected persons who have been invited because of personal competence.

Each member organization of Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP is a separate legal entity with its own board.

The staff of Mental Health in Human Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP is currently limited to Robert van Voren, Chief Executive, who is supported by a number of volunteers and staff members of one of the member organizations of FGIP, GIP-Hilversum.

The Board of Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP

General Board Members

Graham Thornicroft, Chairman (UK)

Graham Thornicroft is Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Centre for Global Mental Health in King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry. He is also a Consultant Psychiatrist working in an early intervention community mental health team in South London, and is Director of King’s Improvement Science. His areas of expertise include: mental health needs assessment, the development of outcome scales, cost-effectiveness evaluation of mental health treatments, stigma and discrimination and human rights, the development of community-based mental health services, and global mental health. He has published 29 books and 333 peer-reviewed scientific papers. He is committed to improving the quantity and quality of mental health care provided worldwide.

 

Benedetto Saraceno, Past Chair (I)

Dr. Benedetto Saraceno is a psychiatrist trained in public health who serviced as Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization until February 2010. Dr. Saraceno is Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry of the United Kingdom and received a Doctor Honoris Causa degree from the New University of Lisbon and the City University of Birmingham. He assisted in the reform of mental health services in South and Central American countries, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Chile and Cuba. In 1996, Dr. Saraceno was appointed Programme Manager of the WHO special programme Nations for Mental Health and in 1999 he became WHO's Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.


John Bowis, Secretary (UK)

John Bowis is a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for London and was the Conservative spokesman on the Environment, Health and Food Safety in the European Parliament. He also serves on the Parliament's Development Committee and is Vice-President of the African-Caribbean-Pacific/EU (ACP/EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Earlier he was a British Minister on the Council of Health Ministers and he was Minister for Transport and Road Safety in London. In the nineties he was an International Policy Adviser to the World Health Organisation's Collaborating Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, supporting the UN's Nations for Mental Health Campaign.

 

Jan Schaart, Treasurer (NL)

Jan Schaart (1961) is Chief Financial Officer of the Arq Psychotrauma Expert Group in The Netherlands. He started his acreer as a nurse, followed by more than 20 years as manager at different levels in (university) hospitals. Over the past six years he has a member of the managing board of directors of the Arq Foundation, a holding to support expert organisations in psychotrauma treatment, research and prevention. Jan Schaarts has a MSc in both Health Sciences and in Health Management and Administration. He is also a member of the board of the Institute of Human Rights and Medical Examination (IMMO), a member of the Health and Support organisation on sexual abused victims of the Roman Catholic Church, a member of the board of the international Fairfood Foundation on food and poverty; and was a member on the Steering Committee European Network on Torture Victims 2008-2011 Jan Schaarts has a MSc in both Health Sciences and in Health Management and Administration. He is also a member of the board of the Institute of Human Rights and Medical Examination (IMMO), a member of the Health and Support organisation on sexual abused victims of the Roman Catholic Church, a member of the board of the international Fairfood Foundation on food and poverty; and was a member on the Steering Committee European Network on Torture Victims 2008-2011


Melvyn Freeman (SA) 

Melvyn Freeman is a consultant on mental health policy, legislation, human rights and HIV/AIDS – in particular to the World Health Organization. He is also extraordinary Professor of Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch. Previously he was the Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the National Department of Health in South Africa where he initiated major mental health legislation and policy reform.


Ganesan (LK)

Ganesan worked as a consultant Psychiatrist for 12 years of which he spent over 9 years working in Batticaloa, a war affected area in eastern Sri Lanka. He was responsible for providing services for over 1.4 million people as the only psychiatrist. There were hardly any services as there has not been any psychiatrist in this region for over 20 years. He helped develop a model with minimum resources that has now been implemented. It includes small acute inpatient care units in hospitals; many out reach follow-up clinics, and some community work. The program also focuses on child protection, gender based violence, drug and alcohol abuse, psychosocial activities, developing services for the learning disabled children (intellectual disability) and more. Since 2008 he works as a Psychiatrist in a large mental hospital in Colombo.

 

David Gzirishvili (GEO)

David gzirishvili is a freelance consultant from Georgia, with more than 16 years experience primarily in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in health care systems and reforms, health care financing, service delivery, applied research, strategic and financial planning, and organizational development. He has been actively involved in civil society development and policy making. He has served in different positions in management and governance bodies of non-for-profit organizations. As a medical doctor, David practiced emergency medicine and family medicine from 1989 to 1995. He also holds a MSc in International and European Law in Social Security (KatholiekeUniversiteit Leuven, Belgium).

 

Jos Poelmann (NL)

 

Jos Poelmann has been graduated as a social scientist and psychotherapist and has been working in (mental) health institutions since 1975; with the exception of a period of 6 years (1981 and 1987) as a Prison Governor.

Since 1987 Jos was director/head of treatment in an institute for the treatment of Youth (learning disabilities combined with psychiatric diseases). Since 1994 his main influence concerned the Dutch Forensic Care system, as successively general director, president of the executive board of a forensic mental health institute and as president of the Dutch Association of Forensic Mental Health Executives. Since 2004 these activities were combined with membership of the executive board of a regional Dutch Mental Health Hospital (MH Nijmegen, MH Pro Persona). Since 2010 Jos has been international consultant for hospitals in developing countries (Africa, Asia) in service of the Dutch Association of Employers. He is now an independent consultant on (mental) healthcare issues and non-executive board member in several related organizations.
 
 
Dr. Marija Veniute (no photo yet)
 
 
Dr. Marija Veniute is a public health expert and associated professor of public mental health at Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine. Since 2001 Marija has been actively involved in the field of public mental health as a researcher, lecturer and expert. Herewith Marija participated in several research projects on evaluation of mental health policies and services in Lithuania, mental health promotion and mental disorders prevention, social integration of people with mental disabilities and mental health indicators. Marija has expertise in evaluating international mental health projects for The Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency of the European Commission, also conducting international evaluations of empowerment and activation of people with mental disorders. She is a member of national informal NGO and expert coalition on Mental Health 2030.

 

The Chief Executive of Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP

Robert van Voren - Chief Executive (NL/LT)

Robert van Voren (1959) is a Sovietologist by education. A graduate of Amsterdam University, he obtained his PhD at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania) where he is Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies. He is also Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Starting in 1977, he became active in the Soviet human rights movement. In 1980, he co-founded the International Association on Political Use of Psychiatry and became its General Secretary in 1986. 

Van Voren holds a number of positions on boards of organizations in the fields of human rights, mental health and prison reform.

Van Voren has written extensively on Soviet issues, the Second World War, and issues related to mental health and human rights. More than a dozen of his books have been published.

 

Supporting staff

At the moment the office of Human Rights in Mental Health - FGIP is supported by staff members of Global Initiative on Psychiatry - Hilversum. The financial administration of the foundation is maintained by the administrative office of Balans V.O.F. in Hilversum, under supervision of the Chief Executive and the board of the foundation.