Dr. Dirk Engels, a Belgian national, studied medicine at the University of Antwerp, and additionally holds diplomas in tropical medicine and epideiology, a Masters in Health Services Research, and a PhD in parasitology from the University of Leiden. He began his career working in clinical tropical medicine, public health, and tropical disease control, mostly serving poor rural populations in countries such as Zambia, Burundi and Senegal.
In 2005 Dr. Engels became Coordintaor of the Preventative Chemotherapy and Transmission Control Unit of the NTD Department at the WHO. He then became Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2014, overseeing an era of partnership and leadership that was pivotal in placing NTDs on the global agenda. He retired in September 2017.