Global Action

Global Action

Dr Dennis Gillings – World Dementia Envoy

In February 2014 the UK government appointed Dr Gillings as the World Dementia Envoy, a part of a new dementia package which aims to speed up diagnosis, fund research and encourage businesses and services in the country to become dementia-friendly.

Gillings is founder of Quintiles, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development services, and has provided consultancy to numerous companies and health organisations, including the National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Medicine.

World Dementia Council

Soon after, the UK Government appointed Council members to support Dr Dennis Gillings, CBE, to champion dementia research and development and unlock investment in countries across the globe including throughout the G7 and OECD.

At the inaugural meeting, the Council considered how it could unlock the brainpower and financial muscle required to meet the objective from the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit to identify a cure or disease modifying therapy by 2025.

The World Health Organization estimates 36 million people worldwide are living with dementia, with the global cost of dementia estimated at US$604 billion.

The staggering economic impact that dementia is having globally highlights the urgent need for global experts to come together to encourage new research into dementia. To this end the Council will work over the next year to identify the barriers to innovation and improve the conditions around investment.

Along with Dr Dennis Gillings, the members of the Council are:

  • Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust
  • Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, England
  • Dr Tim Evans, Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank
  • Dr Franz Humer, Chairman of Roche
  • Dr Yves Joanette, Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Aging
  • Professor Martin Knapp, Director of Health, the London School of Economics;
  • Dr Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Professor of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and Science Advisor to the Cabinet of Japan
  • Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Raj Long, Senior Regulatory Officer – Integrated Development, Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Professor Pierluigi Nicotera, Scientific Director and Chairman of the Executive Board, German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Professor Ronald Petersen, Director, Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
  • Dr Paul Stoffels, Global Chair of Johnson & Johnson
  • George Vradenburg, President and Chairman of the Vradenburg Foundation and USAgainst Alzheimer’s

The work of the World Dementia Council follows on from the 2013 G8 dementia summit hosted in London in December, in which the countries agreed to work together to build an international effort to double funding for dementia research, increase the number of people involved in clinical trials and to set an ambition to identify a cure or disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025.


Global Action: A Timeline


December: First ever G8 Dementia summit


February: Dr Dennis Gillings appointed as the World Dementia Envoy.
April: World Dementia Council formed
May: Alzheimers Disease International (ADI) joins NCD Alliance Steering Group.
May: Global Alzheimer’s and Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA) announced
June: First G7 Legacy Event in London
September: Second G7 Legacy Event in Ottawa
October: First WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia announced for March 2015
November: Third G7 Legacy Event in Tokyo


February: Fourth G7 Legacy event in Bethseda Maryland
March: WHO ministerial conference on Global Action Against Dementia.