June 14, 2019

Meet our Inaugural 2019 Jane Jie Sun Women in Global Health LEAD Fellows


Harvard Announces First Class of New LEAD Fellowship:

Four Female Global Health Pioneers to Join Harvard in Fall 2019

Cambridge, MA – The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) and the Women and Health Initiative at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have accepted four global health pioneers into the inaugural 2019 Jane Jie Sun cohort of the Women in Global Health LEAD Fellowship at Harvard University. The group includes the founder of a non-profit tackling HIV/AIDS in 36 Indian states,  a pioneer of people-centered care from Moldova, a health systems leader from Pakistan, and an award-winning youth- and reproductive health-advocate from Malawi. They will join the program in August 2019.

Learn, Engage, Advance, Disrupt: Why we need a LEAD fellowship

The evidence is clear: Women in leadership positions are change agents, enabling policies that create better lives for individuals, families, communities and nations. They find ways to support and lift up those who experience a disproportionate burden of disease and death worldwide. Still, women remain underrepresented in leadership in public health, medicine and in health and life sciences: While an estimated 70 percent of the global health workforce are female, only about 25 percent of high-level positions in the field are occupied by women.

In an effort to address this inequality and equip and empower more women in global health – and the communities they serve – HGHI and the Women and Health Initiative developed a new fellowship program specifically designed for rising female leaders from low- and middle-income countries. The response to the call for applications was swift and overwhelming: Over 300 applicants from 29 nations competed for this innovative opportunity, which is anchored in an initial semester at Harvard, and is followed by an additional year of mentorship as fellows execute their leadership plans back at their home institutions.

“It indeed is a moment of pride for not only my country but also for each and every Pakistani woman who struggles every day while pushing the boundaries, trying to break the socio-cultural barriers and the centuries old traditions in her stride to advance in the direction of her dreams’, said Shabnum Sarfraz, a health systems leader from Pakistan, upon receiving the news of her selection as one of five inaugural LEAD fellows. “The LEAD Fellowship at Harvard University is a tremendous opportunity for me to explore unchartered territories, while stretching the horizons and paving the way for the next generations of women leaders in my country.”

“The time to support women leaders in global health is now,” said Ana Langer, Director of the Women and Health Initiative and Professor of the Practice at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We are proud to announce this novel program that will give some of the most talented and committed women leaders in the world the opportunity to benefit from Harvard University’s wealth of resources, while enriching our community with their unique perspectives and experiences.”

“It was such a tremendous honor to review the applications submitted to the LEAD Fellowship”, said Ingrid Katz, Associate Faculty Director at the Harvard Global Health Institute and Assistant Professor at the Harvard Medical School. “These applicants represent some of the best and brightest minds in global health across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. They have courageously focused on developing novel solutions to some of the most vexing problems across the globe.”“We know that when women lead, the global health community is stronger and more effective. Yet, too few women are in leadership positions in global public health,” said Ashish K. Jha, the Faculty Director at HGHI and Dean for Global Strategy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We are proud to partner with the Women and Health Initiative to ensure that Harvard is part of the solution, enabling the next generation of leaders to have even greater impact. And I am particularly grateful to Ms. Jane Jie Sun, a visionary supporter of our effort.”

The fellowship is made possible by leading supporter, Jane Sun, CEO of Ctrip.com International, Ltd. It will include a rigorous semester of mentorship, custom leadership training, speaking engagements, and protected time for fellows to focus on their research while in residence at Harvard. While on campus, the fellows will be hosted by the Department of Global Health and Population at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Details at https://globalhealth.harvard.edu/women-gh-lead-fellowship/womenleadgh

Meet the 2019 Women in Global health LEAD fellows

Stela Bivol, MD, MPH | Moldova

Stela Bivol is director of the Center for Health Policy and Studies (PAS Center), a non-profit focused on disease response and health systems strengthening in Eastern Europe. A trained family physician, Bivol’s passion lies in bringing a people-centered model of care to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She has led region-wide efforts to improve the TB response, funded by the Global Fund, contributing to accelerated health reforms in countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. While at Harvard, Bivol will focus on what it will take to move Eastern European nations from foreign-funded emergency responses to infectious diseases towards sustainable, more resilient health systems.

Maureen Luba, B.S. | Malawi

Maureen Luba is Africa region advocacy advisor for the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) and an award-winning advocate based in Malawi. A rising force in community work around HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, Luba also founded a mentorship program for girls focused on education and sexual and reproductive health. Working successfully across organizations, geographies and fault lines to build strong civil society organization coalitions, Luba brings Africa-centered leadership and locally-derived agendas to the HIV/AIDS response. While at Harvard, she will explore how to make data tools available for advocacy, and how to drive evidence-based health policy change in her region.

Sai Subhasree Raghavan, PhD | India

Sai Subhasree Raghavan is the founding president of SAATHII (Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India), a non-profit working towards universal access to healthcare, justice, and social welfare for marginalized communities across 36 states in India. Under her stewardship, SAATHII implements HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs as well as initiatives on maternal and infant mortality. At Harvard, Raghavan will research how to expand on SAATHI’s lessons learned and develop a strategic plan that will add new interventions, such as cervical cancer screening and treatment, to SAATHI’s portfolio.

Shabnum Sarfraz, MBBS, MBA | Pakistan

Shabnum Sarfraz is senior advisor for health systems and policy research at P2Impact Associates, an organization focused on evidence-informed pathways to transforming the health, education and social sectors in Pakistan. A doctor with an MBA, Sarfaz has found her calling in health systems management, and policy reforms. She has managed large-scale, high-impact health projects while working with the government of Pakistan and partners such as DFID, USAID, and WHO. She is leading the women in Global Health drive in her country. While at Harvard, Sarfraz will conduct research looking at barriers to women in health career advancement in Pakistan.

In selecting the 2019 LEAD fellows, HGHI Faculty Director Ashish K. Jha and Associate Faculty Director Ingrid Katz as well as Women in Health Initiative Director Ana Langer were supported by a diverse review committee including:

  • Anne Becker, Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Marcia Castro, Andelot Professor of Demography and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Bernice Dahn, Vice President for Health Sciences, University of Liberia; former Minister of Health, the Republic of Liberia
  • Wafaa El-Sadr, University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and Director of ICAP, Columbia University; Director of the Global Health Initiative, Mailman School of Public Health
  • Louise Ivers, Executive Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Kathryn Rexrode, Chief of the Division of Women’s Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Federal Minister Government of Pakistan; Co-chair, WHO High-Level Independent Commission on Non-communicable diseases; Chair, United Nations University Institute of Global Health

NOTE: This release originally announced the selection of five women LEAD fellows. It has been updated as of August 15, 2019 to reflect the decision of Antionette Habinshuti of Rwanda to forgo her Women in Global Health LEADFellowship and accept a new leadership role with an international humanitarian aid organization in Africa. The LEAD program supports Habinshuti’s decision and looks forward to seeing her continued positive impact in the field.

For media inquiries and other questions, please contact:Olivia Mulvey Senior Coordinator  Harvard Global Health Instituteolivia_guiney@harvard.edu

About the Harvard Global Health Institute

The Harvard Global Health Institute pioneers the next generation of global health research, education and policy translation to address some of the most vexing challenges in human health. Recognizing that the factors that drive health around the world today go beyond what medicine and public health can address individually, we bring design, business, law, environmental studies, history, computing and other expertise from across Harvard and our worldwide partners together to work on innovative, collaborative, evidence-based solutions. We convene diverse perspectives, identify gaps, initiate novel research, and design new learning opportunities. Join us at globalhealth.harvard.edu

About the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The Women and Health Initiative (W&HI) at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health recognizes that, due to persistent social and gender inequality around the world, girls and women experience increased risk of ill-health and injustice within the health sector, where they play dual roles as both consumers and providers of health care. The W&HI holistically conceptualizes women as both the beneficiaries of health care interventions and as critical caregivers within the health system. The Initiative is unprecedented in its balanced focus on improving women’s health and catalyzing women’s contributions to the health and wealth of societies. Details at https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/women-and-health-initiative/