International Board (IB) Members
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The International Board

The International Board (IB) is the board of MSF International. It acts on behalf of and is accountable to the International General Assembly (IGA). As the highest associative governance body of MSF, the IGA delegates duties to the Board, as defined in the Statutes of the association.

The International Board (IB)  is intended to have mainly a guiding role, ensuring accountability and facilitating agreement within the MSF movement in a timely manner.

The IB is composed of: the International President; the international treasurer (non-voting; can be co-opted); one representative for each operational centre (5 people); six additional persons elected by the IGA.

Two thirds of IB members must have a medical background.

The members of the International Board are:

Dr Christos Christou
Dr Christos Christou

The International President, Dr Christos Christou, joined MSF in 2002, where his first assignment was in Greece as a field doctor, working with migrants and refugees, before working as a doctor in an HIV/AIDS project in Zambia in 2004 and 2005. After a break from field missions for a number of years while he trained as a surgeon, from 2013 he joined MSF missions in a number of conflict zones and insecure contexts, including South Sudan, Iraq and, most recently, Cameroon, as an Emergency and Trauma surgeon.

Born in Trikala, a small town in central Greece, Dr Christou graduated from Aristotle University’s medical school in Thessaloniki, Greece, and has a PhD in Surgery from the Kapodestrian University of Athens. He holds a Masters in International Health - Health Crisis Management from the University of Athens and is member of its faculty.

Dr Christou later specialised in general and emergency surgery in the Surgical and Transplant Unit of Evangelismos Hospital in Athens. In 2013 he moved to London, working as a Senior Clinical Fellow in Colorectal surgery at King’s College Hospital, and in 2018 became Consultant of Colorectal and Emergency Surgery at North Middlesex University Hospital. In 2018 he was awarded Fellow of the European Board of Surgery in Coloproctology.

Dr Christou was first General Secretary, then Vice-President and finally President of MSF Greece Board of Directors from 2005 until his election as International President in June 2019. In 2022, Dr Christou was re-elected as International President for another three-year mandate.

Portrait of Sam Bumicho
Sam Bumicho

Sam Bumicho is a medical and public health practitioner, with over 15 years of experience in humanitarian organisations. Sam endeavours to provide the best medical and public health approaches that put communities at the centre. He began his career with MSF in 2004 and has assisted in developing community-based strategies for our projects in Kenya. Sam is also the co-founder and executive director of Communities For Action, a Kenyan based non-governmental organisation that strives to empower communities with skills and basic resources to address their health problems with local solutions. From his home in Kenya, Sam continues to engage in discussions on equity, diversity, and inclusion through multiple international platforms as MSF’s International Vice President, a position he was elected to in 2021.

Erastus Cheti
Erastus Cheti

Erastus Cheti gained an MsC in monitoring and evaluation in population and development, and a bachelor's degree in social sciences from The University of Nairobi. He joined MSF in Kenya in 2007 as project monitoring and evaluation lead/data manager where he stayed until 2016. He then took on the position of monitoring, evaluation, strategic information manager at PEPFAR agency in collaboration with Henry Jackson Foundation of Medical Research International. He became a board member of MSF Eastern Africa in 2019. In 2022, Erastus was elected as a member of the International Board.

Dr Isabelle Defourny
Dr Isabelle Defourny

Dr Isabelle Defourny trained as doctor before joining MSF in 1999, with her first mission in Yemen. Since then she has worked in Eritrea, Burundi, Liberia and Sudan. In 2004, she joined MSF Operational Centre Paris as programme manager before becoming a member of the Association’s board of directors and finally becoming Director of Operations until March 2022. In June 2022, Dr Isabelle Defourny was elected president of MSF France during the association’s 51st General Assembly. 

Luis Encinas
Luis Encinas

Luis Encinas trained in nursing, paediatrics and tropical medicine in Belgium, before undertaking his first assignment with MSF – as nurse supervisor – in Liberia in 1994. Luis has worked with MSF for over 25 years, in a variety of roles including as field coordinator, emergency coordinator and medical coordinator. His MSF missions have taken him to Angola, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sudan, DRC and Colombia, among others. For more than eight years, up until 2016, Luis was in charge of operations; he has also developed protocols in managing outbreaks of haemorrhagic fevers. He most recently worked as a coach and mentor for MSF and was involved recently as medical adviser for MSF’s COVID-19 activities in Spain and Portugal. He has served on the boards of MSF Italy (2009 – 2012) and MSF Sweden (2015 – 2018). Luis was elected to the International Board in November 2020.

Yvan Legris
Yvan Legris

Yvan Legris was elected to the International Board in 2022, having served the movement as a co-opted International Board Treasurer since January 2017. Prior to joining MSF, he spent over 30 years at the HR and benefits consulting firm Aon Hewitt where he was the global chief executive of the consulting division since 2012. Yvan is a retired actuary and has a diploma in Humanitarian Action from the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies. He was born in Mauritius and lives in London.

Paula Gil Leyva
Paula Gil Leyva

Paula Gil Leyva studied nursing before she joined MSF in 2003, with her first mission as a nurse in Angola. Since then she has worked in Mozambique, Central African Republic, Angola again, and more recently in Spain, during our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Over the course of her field work, she has held various positions, including field coordinator, medical coordinator, and project coordinator, before diversifying her experience and working in human resources, including as human resources coordinator. In addition to her nursing degrees, Paula holds a postgraduate degree in Gender and Equality studies from Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. She was elected President of MSF Spain in October 2021.

Dr Deane Marchbein
Dr Deane Marchbein

Dr Deane Marchbein undertook her studies, first as a medical doctor, then as an anaesthetist, in the United States. After holding several senior-level positions at hospitals in the northeastern US, Deane undertook her first mission for MSF in 2006, in Côte D’Ivoire, where she was an anaesthetist and started MSF’s paediatric hospital. Up until 2019, she returned repeatedly to the field – mostly as an anaesthetist, but also as Project Coordinator – to countries including DRC, Nigeria, Libya, Afghanistan, Burundi and Ukraine. Deane joined the board of MSF USA in 2008, becoming its vice president in 2010 and president in 2012, the latter a position she held until 2016. Deane was elected to the International Board in November 2020.

Dr Chibuzo Okonta
Dr Chibuzo Okonta

Dr Chibuzo Okonta is a general medical practitioner trained in Nigeria, where he worked as a doctor before joining MSF in Katsina, northern Nigeria, during a measles outbreak response; he has been working in the humanitarian field since 2005. Chibuzo has worked for MSF in several West and Central African countries, including as an emergency coordinator in emergency responses in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Haiti, Iraq, Syria and Uganda. In 2014, he joined the emergency unit of MSF France in Paris as one of the programme managers. Chibuzo has extensive expertise in responding to complex humanitarian emergencies including nutritional crises, and refugees and displaced people following wars or a natural disaster. He is a cofounder of MSF in West and Central Africa (WACA). Chibuzo is very passionate about environmental health and mitigating issues due to climate change and global warming. As President of MSF WACA, he was co-opted on to the International Board in February 2021.

Reveka Papadopoulou
Reveka Papadopoulou

Reveka Papadopoulou started working with MSF in 1995 in Armenia and after missions in Palestine, Liberia, the former Yugoslavia, and Honduras, she took the position of Liaison for MSF's Access Campaign in 2003, before working as Deputy Programme Manager and Programme Manager for the Operational Centre in Geneva. Reveka spent four years, from 2008 to 2012, as General Director of MSF Greece before returning to the field. She was first elected to the International Board in 2014, and elected President of MSF Switzerland/OCG in 2017.

Parthesarathy (Sarathi) Rajendran
Parthesarathy (Sarathi) Rajendran

Parthesarathy (Sarathi) Rajendran studied economics and anthropology in India before joining MSF in January 2005. He first worked as an assistant field coordinator in a mental health project in southern India in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Sarathi then worked in a number of roles – including in logistics, advocacy, and as Head of Mission – in countries such as South Sudan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, Malawi, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nauru, before leaving MSF in July 2017. Today, after he received a Masters in International Health from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, he works at the Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, at Heidelberg University in Germany. Sarathi was elected to the International Board in June 2021.

Dr Leslie Shanks
Dr Leslie Shanks

Dr Leslie Shanks is a Canadian medical doctor who served as the president of MSF Canada, the medical director of MSF-OCA, and who has led humanitarian responses in Yugoslavia, Zaire and Sudan. In 2022 Leslie was elected as interim International Board representative.

Fasil Tezera
Fasil Tezera

Fasil Tezera gained his pharmacy degree before joining MSF in 1990 as a pharmacist in Liberia. For more than 30 years he has worked with MSF in the field in various capacities, from pharmacist to head of mission, in countries including Rwanda, South Sudan, Pakistan and Nepal. After a long career working for MSF in long-term projects as well as emergencies, he took a position in the analysis department of MSF’s Operational Centre in Brussels before being elected as President of MSF Belgium and the Operational Centre in Brussels. He became a member of the International Board in 2022.