Accelerating Breakthroughs in Global Health: The Impact and Power of Women’s Leadership

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Gender equity is inherently linked to achieving the 17 the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As UN Women writes, “Women are not only more affected by these problems, but also possess ideas and leadership to solve them.” Women lead differently, building up entire communities in service of our biggest global challenges, including global health equity. While women make up 70% of the global health workforce, only 25% hold senior leadership positions. Please join the Aspen Global Innovators Group and the Aspen Forum on Women and Girls for a panel discussion on March 29th from 9:00-10:00 am EST on Accelerating Breakthroughs in Global Health: The Impact and Power of Women’s Leadership. This conversation, in honor of Women’s History Month, will explore how we can advance women’s leadership in global health, particularly embedding women’s leadership in primary health systems and research agendas. We are excited to feature two global health exemplars, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho and Dr. Lisa Hirschhorn.

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Professor Agnes Binagwaho, MD, M(Ped), PHD

Professor Agnes Binagwaho, MD, M(Ped), PHD currently resides in Rwanda and is the Vice Chancellor and co-founder of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) (in 2015), an initiative of Partners in Health which focuses on changing how health care is delivered around the world by training global health professionals who strive to deliver more equitable, quality health services for all.

She is a Rwandan pediatrician who returned to Rwanda in 1996, two years after the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. Since then, (1996-2016), she has provided clinical care in the public sector and served the Rwandan Health Sector in high-level government positions, first as the Executive Secretary of Rwanda’s National AIDS Control Commission, then as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, and lastly as the Minister of Health for 5 years.

Professor Binagwaho specializes in emergency pediatrics, neonatology, and the treatment of HIV/AIDS. She completed her MD at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and her MA in Pediatrics at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Dartmouth College and earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Rwanda College of Medicine.

She currently serves as a member of several advisory boards and groups among them the Africa CDC Strategic Advisory Group of Experts and the Wellcome Global Monitor. She also serves as a member of various boards of directors including the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees and the Consortium of University for Global Health. She currently also serves on the African Union Commission on COVID-19 Response under the leadership of HE President Ramaphosa of South Africa. She is a member of a number of international scientific committees, working groups and task forces in global health for different institutions such as the Think 20 (T20) and the United Nations as well as for independent organizations such as the Africa Europe Foundation. Prof. Binagwaho also sits on the editorial board of several scientific journals such as the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Lisa R Hirschhorn, MD, MPH.

Starting as a public health and researcher and HIV clinician in the 1980’s, Dr.Hirschhorn’s research has focused on understanding the causes and developing feasible and effective solutions to the implementation gap and disparities in delivery, outcomes and quality of care in resource limited settings in the US and in Africa. This work started during the 15 years Dr.Hirschhorn ran the HIV Medical Care Program at Dimock Community Health Center’s HIV Program working to ensure high quality of prevention and care delivered in the community and integrating implementation and improvement science to improve and learn from this work.

Relevant recent work has included applying implementation and improvement science methods to identify factors associated with poorer quality, low rates of health system responsiveness and patient-centered care, inequity and outcomes in care in the US and in Africa and the Caribbean, identifying, adapting and testing existing evidence-based interventions to address these gaps.

As Director for Implementation and Improvement Sciences at Ariadne Labs, a partnership between Harvard School and Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr.Hirschhorn led a team focused on developing more effective approaches to study and support innovative approaches to apply evidence-based practices from initial discovery of simple effective solutions through scale-up to realize the full potential to improve care and reduce suffering and improve patient-centered outcomes and care delivery. At Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine as Professor in the Departments of Medical Social Sciences and Psychiatry, member of the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research, my current work continues to focus on continuing the work to further apply implementation science methods to effectively measure and improve implementation and quality and effectiveness of care in the US and a number of countries in Africa. Throughout her career, Dr.Hirschhorn have been committed to providing training and mentorship for students and junior faculty in the US and in many countries in Africa including Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. Current projects include exploring barriers to pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV for women in Chicago, primary health care improvement in low and middle income setting, strengthening quality measurement focusing on people-centered care and evaluation of quality improvement collaboratives in Africa


Lola Adedokun

is the Executive Director of the Aspen Global Innovators Group at the Aspen Institute and co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls. She leads a portfolio of programs that seek to expand opportunities for and access to health and prosperity for people living at the world’s margins, including the New Voices Fellowship and AMP Health.Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Lola worked at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation as both Director of the Child Well-being Program and Director of the African Health Initiative. By building partnerships between implementers, policymakers and researchers, her work sought to further reduce inequality, strengthen communities, and promote evidence-based policy decision-making. In her dual roles, she focused her work on strengthening the systems and services that enable children and families to lead healthy, vibrant and self-determined lives. Earlier in her career, Lola served as an analyst with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she was responsible for management and analysis of HIV/AIDS surveillance data. She was also an analyst at Abt Associates Inc., implementing several federally-funded impact evaluations related to domestic and international HIV/AIDS programming and research-capacity building. Lola earned dual B.A. degrees with honors in Health Policy and Society and Sociology from Dartmouth College and an M.P.H. from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She currently serves on the boards of Foster America, the National Employment Law Project, and the Brooklyn-based Explore Schools network.