13 July 2020 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy

Thank you to Courtenay Dusenbury, GPZL Secretariat Director

Courtenay Dusenbury joined the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy (GPZL) in January 2018, just as it was preparing to launch. Courtenay brought with her a background in global health partnerships and prior directorial experience as Founding Director of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI) and Federal Affairs Director at Emory University.

As the Secretariat Director, Courtenay worked with the GPZL Leadership Team and partners around the world to develop and execute GPZL’s first 2.5 years of growth, which has been made possible by partners’ strengthened collaboration. “Seeing the partners come together,” she said, “with full enthusiasm and commitment to developing a shared vision for Zero Leprosy, has been very rewarding.”

In the Partnership’s earliest stage, Courtenay supported partners in navigating differing worldviews, communication styles, and approaches, to work toward the Partnership’s common goal: reaching zero leprosy. She is particularly proud of the GPZL’s Action Framework, which serves as a clear road map for how partners will work together toward zero leprosy, including funding for the priorities of a joint research agenda, partnerships with country programs, resource mobilization, and amplifying the voices of persons affected by leprosy. GPZL’s ranking in the top 100 applicants of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100 Million & Change 2020 grant illustrates a tangible success of the partnership. Partners contributed to the proposal, and this collaboration opened up new avenues for resource mobilization. “Joint visioning and discussions have allowed partners to see that all contributions to the shared goal are valuable and necessary,” said Courtenay.

Courtenay worked with the GPZL Leadership Team to guide the Partnership over new hurdles these past few months, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners joined forces to support National Leprosy Programme Managers in assessing and addressing emergency needs, access to multi-drug therapy (MDT), and follow-up care. “The trust in each other and hard work of these partners, developed over the past two years, has benefited the entire community,” she said.

Courtenay will leave GPZL with gratitude for her shared experiences alongside GPZL partners and the hundreds of people who have taken the time to educate her and share their perspectives and experiences of leprosy. “Getting to know the people who have dedicated their lives to working to end human transmission of leprosy and ensuring human rights for those who have experienced the disease has been a true honor,” she said. “It was an honor to work with these esteemed individuals.”

What does the future hold? Courtenay is excited to see the Partnership putting the theory of the Action Framework developed in the Partnership’s past two years into practice with expanded country-level partnerships and implementation. She plans to stay connected from her new position at the Task Force for Global Health in global and domestic policy. Courtenay will build relationships with the U.S. Congress, WHO, and other global health organizations advocating on the international and national levels. “I am looking forward to continuing to do what I can to contribute to this incredible community from my new position,” she said.

On behalf of the Partnership and the members, we thank Courtenay for her foundational work at GPZL and wish her all the best in her new position!

Written by Caroline Cassard, Communications Specialist, Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy