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Ulana Suprun

Guest Speaker

    Professional affiliation

    Editor-in-chief, Ukrainian Online Journal The Arc; Commissioner, Chatham House Commission on Universal Health; Former Minister of Health of Ukraine

    Full Biography

    Ulana Suprun, M.D. served as the acting Minister of Health of Ukraine from July 2016 until August 2019. She is the founder and former director of the NGO Patriot Defence and former director of Humanitarian Initiatives for the Ukrainian World Congress.

    Dr. Suprun was born to a Ukrainian family in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated from Wayne State University in 1985 with a BS in Biology, and received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 1989. After six years of post-graduate clinical residency and fellowship in Women's Imaging, she was Board certified in Radiology and practiced medicine in New York, NY and Detroit, MI for 15 years, both in private practice and as acting director of Mammography at Henry Ford Hospital. She was appointed Assistant Clinical Professor of Pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital and vice medical director of a Women's Imaging Medical Imaging of Manhattan in New York, NY. Dr. Suprun is an active member of the American College of Radiology, the Radiological Society of North America, and the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America.

    Being very active in the Ukrainian diaspora community, as well as frequently traveling to Ukraine both for personal and professional visits, she and her husband Marko Suprun moved to Ukraine permanently in November of 2013. Both were on Maidan during the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv: Ulana worked in the medical services of the Euromaidan, while Marko helped rescue injured individuals, as well as translated for foreign journalists. This subsequently led to her position at the Ukrainian World Congress and later to the founding of “Patriot Defence”, a non-governmental organization that provides tactical medicine training and distributes NATO Standard Improved First Aid Kits (IFAKs) to Ukraine’s servicemen. Through both positions, Dr. Suprun was instrumental in organizing several millions of dollars of humanitarian aid into Ukraine, including introducing courses in tactical medicine for over 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers and providing more than 22,000 first aid kits for those trained. The training programs also included first responder courses for police and trauma courses for both military and civilian doctors. Dr. Suprun was involved in the planning and implementation of the Canadian surgical missions through the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and Patriot Defence worked closely with the Canadian Embassy in Ukraine on the training programs for Ukrainian police and providing first aid kits to the Ukrainian military.

    Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko awarded Dr. Suprun and Marko Suprun Ukrainian citizenship in July 2015, "in the national interest of Ukraine." In September 2015 Dr. Ulana Suprun was appointed director of the School of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Ukrainian Catholic University. She also was invited to be a consultant for the Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee on Health and worked on new laws regarding Rehabilitation and Emergency Medicine. Through her efforts, two new professions-physical and occupational therapist-were introduced into Ukraine and academic programs to allow for training of these specialists were approved by the Ministry of Education.

    On July 27, 2016 Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers approved a resolution appointing Ulana Suprun, MD as the acting Minister of Health of Ukraine. She would go on to become the longest serving Minister of Health in independent Ukraine’s history, serving until August 30, 2019.  During her time as Minister, she and her team passed a sweeping healthcare transformation into law.  This transformation repealed the failed Soviet system, and replaced it with a modern system based on international best practices. The new system focuses on primary care, provides state insurance for every Ukrainian citizen, establishes a guaranteed package of healthcare services, increasing healthcare workers’ salaries to market levels, cuts corruption and bribes in the medical system, and offers a reimbursement for medicines program for patients suffering from chronic diseases. As an indication of its success, over the course of one year, more than 28 million Ukrainians signed up for the new healthcare system.

    After leaving the ministry in August 2019 with the change in government, Dr. Suprun founded the NGO ArcUA, which provided analysis and advice for local governments on COVID-19 response and worked with the National Health Service of Ukraine to create guidelines for primary care physicians on COVID-19 response. The NGO publishes an online Ukrainian language literary journal as well as books including Dr. Suprun’s popular non-fiction book about maintaining health and debunking medical myths in Ukrainian.

    Dr. Suprun continues to speak at numerous conferences and forums, sharing her experience in implementing reform and providing health services in a time of war or crisis. These include a recent event co-sponsored by Chatham House and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences “Challenges to Humanitarian Health Delivery in Today’s Conflicts” in November 2023, the launch of the Commission on Universal Health at the annual Chatham House London Conference in June 2022, a panel on “Commercial Determinants of Health” at the World Health Summit in 2019 in Berlin, presenting at the Bucerius Summer School on Global Governance in August 2022 in Berlin, and many others. In April 2022, Dr. Suprun was invited by Chatham House to participate in the Commission on Universal Health.

    Dr. Suprun continues to reside in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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