Dr João Breda, MPH, PhD MBA, is the Head of the new Athens Quality of Care Office and Special Adviser of WHO Regional Director for the establishment of Sub-Regional Offices. Before moving to Greece João has been posted in WHO Senior Positions in Copenhagen (Denmark) for seven years and Moscow (Russian Federation) for four years. The newly established Athens Centre of Excellence aims to improve quality of care and patient safety at country level and focusing on reducing inequalities while promoting health innovation and leadership. João Breda is known for his teamwork, leadership skills (including great team player and high EQ and diversity promoter) and fund-raising ability which led to attract significant number of resources from major international donors.
Until 2021 he Headed the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD Office), which is an integral part of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Launched in Moscow in 2014, the NCD Office marked an important milestone in the commitment made to combatting NCDs in the WHO European Region.
Led by Dr Breda, the NCD Office provided support to 53 Member States in the WHO European Region based on population-level, targeted approaches to ensure a reduction in NCD risk, an overall decline in premature mortality. In 2019, the team he was leading was given an Award of Excellence announced by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, which acknowledges the exceptional contribution to the Organization, tangible gains, and achievements.
For eleven years Dr João Breda was Programme Manager for Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, responsible for the development and implementation and evaluation of the European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020 and the Physical Activity Strategy for the WHO European Region 2016-2025.
Dr Breda was also the recipient of the Gold Medal for outstanding services in the field of Health granted by the Portuguese Ministry of Health in 2018. He also received more than 20 scientific and academic awards and/or distinctions notably the Honorary Professorship by the Medical Academy of Kazakhstan 2018, the Gerlev Award 2016 (Denmark) and gold medals for his work in obesity particularly in children by the Polish Institute of Maternal and Child Health (2021) and the Nutritionists Professional Order 2021 (Portugal). João Breda has published more than 250 original academic articles and reports, as well as more than 20 original books (including the best seller on infant nutrition in Portugal) and has more than 10000 citations. He is also considered to be among the top 1% researchers on obesity, globally.
Before joining WHO, Dr Breda was the Portuguese focal point to WHO/Europe for alcohol, nutrition, and physical activity, and to the High-Level Group on Nutrition & Physical Activity and the European Platform on Diet, Nutrition and Physical Activity of the European Union.
He was the first coordinator of the national platform against obesity under the Portuguese Ministry of Health. He worked as a public health official at the general Health Directorate of Health for many years. He was the Head of the Nutrition Department at Atlantic University in Lisbon as well as lecturer and researcher at the Agriculture University of Coimbra (ESAC), the University of the Algarve and the School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in Coimbra.
Dr João Breda is a PhD in Food Consumption & Nutritional Sciences by Porto University, a Master of Business Administration by the EU Business School in Barcelona, a Master’s in public health and initially graduated in Nutritional Sciences. He is proficient in English, Spanish and Portuguese (mother tongue), intermediate knowledge of French and basic Russian.