Published: 03/11/2021

Dear Global Health Colleagues,

Last September marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the visionary global agenda for achieving women’s equal participation in all areas of life. 

However, it took a global pandemic to pull the curtain back on the importance of women’s leadership in global public health. But for those of us with longstanding careers in global health, too few women in health decision-making roles has been a glaring and frustrating problem. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing us many important lessons. Clearly a newfound understanding and appreciation of the critical need for women’s leadership is needed to cope with this pandemic — as exemplified by the many countries led by women with success stories.

Why are women essential to global health? As WomenLift Health executive director Amie Batson puts it in our featured interview below, “Global health addresses some of the biggest challenges that humankind faces. We need to have the best talent and we need to draw that talent from all of humankind, not just the male 50%.”

Around the world, women largely deliver healthcare, and thus it is not surprising that over 70 percent of healthcare workers who are dying on the frontlines are women. In light of this, when I walk into a room of men making health decisions that will affect national or global populations, I see a missed opportunity. The immense, untapped talent and lived experiences of diverse women makes them not just more useful in health leadership positions — women’s knowledge, instinct, and expertise is essential to healthy populations.

The pandemic has demonstrated what we already know time and time again, that we need women in positions of power in healthcare, and societal barriers and internalized misconceptions continue to keep this simple health solution at arm’s length. 

No matter the barriers though, the tides are changing — women are steadily rising to the top, and with our help and recognition, we can set aside stigmas and misbeliefs and realize better health outcomes together. It is with this goal in mind that I helped found WomenLift Health, an organization dedicated to securing diverse women in more leadership positions, and I invite you to learn more about this by attending an exciting event on March 8th and read more about this work-stream in the articles below. 

This International Women’s Day, let us start recognizing women in the healthcare arena for what they are: an essential element in any and all successful healthcare systems. Despite the enormous and myriad barriers they face, women have persisted, achieved, and delivered health outcomes for all. In this month’s newsletter, join me in taking an in-depth look at these barriers and assessing how to clear them from our path, but more importantly, let’s give credit where credit is due by celebrating the immense achievements by women in health and looking forward to many, many more.

Be safe,
Michele Barry

Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson Professor of Medicine and Tropical Diseases
Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health
Senior Associate Dean for Global Health, Stanford University

Featured Article

This International Women’s Day, choose to challenge the global health status quo with WomenLift Health

Despite comprising 70% of the global health workforce, women hold only 25% of leadership positions, an inexcusable disparity that compromises health outcomes and initiatives around the world. At Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health we have been catalyzing systemic change to achieve gender equality in leadership with WomenLift Health, a unique organization dedicated to expanding the power and influence of talented and diverse women in global health. Read our feature article here.

What We’re Reading

Women’s Leadership in Global Health

Global COVID-19 Trends

Regional and Country-Specific COVID-19 News

Stanford Global Health Faculty Fellow Feature

5 Questions with Amie Batson on the barriers women face in global health

After 30 years of working in global health, Amie Batson has seen too many missed opportunities for impact because women weren’t included at decision making tables. Today, Amie has made it her mission to increase women’s leadership in global health with the new organization WomenLift Health. Read the article here.

Lessons from our Global Colleagues

Every month we invite an esteemed colleague from around globe to share global health learnings, experiences, and insights from their work.

Africa’s COVID-19 Heroines: Women’s contributions to the pandemic response 

Rumbidzai Chisenga, Director of Programs at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development

In times of crisis, public officials need leadership. During this extraordinary time, the public and our elected and appointed officials have relied on the leadership of people whose names may never be publicly known: healthcare workers who continue to show up and risk their lives every day, innovators who quickly developed rapid testing kits, scientists who have studied infectious diseases in obscurity over decades — and many others. 

Knowing many of the extraordinary women leading COVID-19 response efforts in Africa had been neglected in the public spotlight, we at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center) launched a campaign to explicitly recognize their efforts.

Rumbidzai Chisenga, seated at left, with former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the 2020 Cohort of Amujae Leaders at the Amujae Leadership Forum in Monrovia, Liberia on International Women’s Day 2020.

The Spotlight a COVID-19 Heroine campaign invited the public to nominate African women who stepped up to serve their constituencies, communities, and countries during the pandemic — unsung heroes whose stories of service, fortitude, and resourcefulness should be shared. We received hundreds of nominations. Here are but a few:

Dr. Winnie Kitetu has been using her expertise as a clinical psychologist to support women, families and other clients during the pandemic with remote counselling in Kenya, essential work as the pandemic and lockdown measures have exacerbated mental health problems associated with bereavement, loneliness, substance abuse, and domestic violence. 

Elsiemae Melanie Buckle personally recorded hundreds of hours of educational content to be broadcast over the radio, helping children across Sierra Leone continue their education through distance learning.

Dr. Winnie Kitetu is one of countless women in health demonstrating critical leadership during the pandemic. The Clinical Psychologist in Residence at the Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya. Dr. Kitetu began her career as a pharmacist, and as her interest in mental health developed, she returned to university to study Clinical Psychology.

The pandemic has also engendered global awareness about zoonotic diseases thanks in part to the efforts of Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka from Uganda and others who have been working to educate the public about how such diseases spread. 

Lola Talabi-Oni, the Technical Advisor to the Statistician-General at Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics built and launched the country’s National Coronavirus Geospatial Data Hub, which uses cutting-edge data visualizations to improve accessibility to real-time COVID-19 information for government agencies and the general public.

Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is a leading conservationist and scientist working to protect wildlife species, including the endangered mountain gorillas of East Africa. She is the Founder and CEO of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), a non-profit organization that promotes conservation by improving the health and quality of life of people living near protected areas of Africa, so that they can peacefully coexist with the wildlife.

Learning about these and other women rising to the occasion in Africa and across the globe has reminded us that leadership is a shared responsibility across expertise, sectors, and gender. Let’s join forces in acknowledging and documenting the critical contributions that women make — on the frontlines and in the shadows of leadership.

Rumbidzai Chisenga is the Director of Programs at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center). In this role, she leads the Amujae Initiative, the EJS Center’s flagship program, which prepares women to unapologetically take up roles in the highest echelons of public leadership.  

Upcoming Events

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women’s Leadership in Global Health

Hosted by the Center for Innovation in Global Health and WomenLift Health
Monday, March 8, 2021 | 4:00-5:00pm PST
Click here for information and registration.

This International Women’s Day, we invite you to learn about the efforts being made to advance equitable leadership in global health and celebrate one organization that is challenging the status quo. 

WomenLift Health – based at Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health – is dedicated to changing health leadership around the world to ensure a future with more diverse and talented women at decision-making tables. Despite the pandemic, we have charged ahead during our inaugural year, providing coaching, mentorship and peer support for 23 impassioned women in global health, building community and sharing insights via our speaker series, and convening our 4th annual Women Leaders in Global Health conference with more than 2,300 people from 50 countries. This year we are going even bigger. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WomenLift Health has set ambitious targets: to reach tens of thousands of women and male allies over the course of a decade through a portfolio of interventions that drive change at the individual, institutional and societal levels.

More women in leadership positions will positively impact health outcomes for all — join us this International Women’s Day to discuss how we can make this ambition a reality. We will hear from WomenLift Health’s Founder Dr. Michele Barry and Executive Director Amie Batson, learn from the experiences of health leaders in the WomenLift Health program, and discuss a path forward.

Faculty Women’s Forum: Faculty Salary Equity and Transparency

Sponsored by the Faculty Women’s Forum and the Office of Faculty Development, Diversity & Engagement 
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 | 3:00-4:00pm PST
Open to Stanford community only.
Click here for information and registration.

Have you ever wondered: How are salaries, other compensation, and related resource allocation beyond compensation set for faculty members at Stanford? How is faculty compensation reviewed for gender and other equity? When and how does compensation increase? How should individual faculty members assess the extent to which they are being offered or paid a fair salary? Is the only real way to be paid more, or “what you’re worth,” to get outside offers? Could faculty salary information at Stanford be more transparent? This presentation and discussion will consider these and related questions, moderated by our Director, Michele Barry, Drs. Ben & A. Jess Shenson Professor, Senior Associate Dean, Global Health. 

The 2021 Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference: Addressing Critical Gaps in Global Health and Development

Hosted by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health
March 12-14, 2021
Click here for information and registration.

A three day virtual conference with a diverse array of sessions and speakers from leading health organizations around the globe, including our Director, Dr. Michele Barry, on the keynote panel and at the March 12 session: Gender & Power in COVID-19. Keynote speakers include: Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, interviewed by Dr. Michele Barry, and Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Deputy Secretary of Prevention and Health Promotion of Mexico.

WomenLift Health PowerUp Workshop: Building Your Authentic Leadership

Hosted by the WomenLift Health
March 17, 5:00-7:00pm India Standard Time, 2021
For women health professionals based in India.
Click here for information and registration.

The WomenLift Health PowerUp Workshops are a series of leadership workshops that are free, open-to-the public opportunities. The workshops will be hosted virtually on a quarterly basis and focus on empowering mid-career women working in the health sector. The topic and geographic focus will rotate with each event. We are excited to kick off the workshop series with this event on authentic leadership for women health professionals in India. This workshop will focus on the power of authenticity in leadership. Participants will be asked to explore and begin articulating their leader identity, one that connects deeply with their authentic values. Through highly personalized small-group exercises and interactive plenary discussions, participants will gain an enhanced self-awareness of the many elements that shape their leadership identity, which in turn shapes their leadership impact. 

Stanford Global Health Opportunities

Call for Proposals: 2021 Stanford Global Health Seed Grants

Deadline: 11:59PM PDT, Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Click here for more info.
(Stanford faculty, fellows, and researchers only)
Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health Seed Grant program encourages the development of innovative solutions to global health challenges. With early-stage funding, this program supports operational, scientific and clinical research as well as innovations in health care implementation or delivery. The Center for Innovation in Global Health believes that local is global; we are committed to improving health equity among all underserved or marginalized groups.  We welcome applications from research teams that will conduct research related to improving health equity in the United States, and elsewhere. Interdisciplinary research teams are strongly encouraged to apply.

Student Job Opportunity: Global Health Social Media and Digital Outreach Assistant

Click here for more info.
(Stanford students only)
 Stanford’s Center for Innovation in Global Health is seeking an exceptional student Social Media and Digital Outreach Assistant. Reporting directly to the Global Health Communications Manager, they will directly support digital outreach efforts by developing and coordinating social media and web content to raise awareness of global health research, activities, and opportunities at Stanford University and beyond. They will engage with multiple audiences, curating content and strategizing outreach through a variety of channels including social media and the Stanford Global Health website, and contribute to brand marketing by developing a unique voice and online presence.

The 2021 Rosenkranz Prize

Deadline: March 22, 2021
Click here for more info.
(Stanford faculty, fellows, and researchers only)
 The 2021 Dr. George Rosenkranz Prize will be awarded to a Stanford researcher doing innovative work to improve health in low- or middle-income countries. Aimed at fostering innovative new research, the Rosenkranz Prize is a stipend of US $100,000 awarded over a two-year period. Moreover, the Prize is not simply a financial resource—it will also provide its recipients with an incubating network of like-minded unconventional global health scholars.

2021 Spectrum Pilot Grants for Population Health Sciences

Deadline: 11:59PM PDT, Wednesday, March 31, 2021
(Stanford faculty, fellows, and researchers only)
Founded in 2015, the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences (PHS) aims to improve the health of populations by bringing together diverse disciplines and data in order to address social and environmental determinants of health (SEDoH). It is well documented that SEDoH factors are strong predictors of health and disease, and contribute to social inequalities in health. The Spectrum PHS pilot grants are intended to stimulate novel research that can advance our understanding of how environments, policies, and programs impact population health and related inequalities.

WomenLift Health Job Opening: India Program Director

Location: Within India, flexible
Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
Click here for more info.
WomenLift Health is seeking an experienced, innovative and dynamic India Program Director to design, lead, grow and implement the WomenLift Health India strategy.  Reporting to the WomenLift Health Executive Director in the interim, the India Director will lead the engagement and implementation with and by Indian partner institutions and high-level champions to expand the voice and influence of Indian women leaders in health, to influence systemic change in organizations and support a movement.  The India Director must have excellent skills engaging and building partnerships with a deep understanding of the Indian context, at both national and state levels.  The Director must thrive in a dynamic and creative work environment, be a self-starter and be a passionate change agent for advancing women’s leadership.

WomenLift Health Job Openings: Instructional Design Lead

Location: Flexible – within US
Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
Click here for more info.
WomenLift Health is seeking an Instructional Design Lead to work under the direction of the Program Operations Director and Program Content Director, and in close collaboration with teammates and partners at the global and country levels. Using a Human-Centered Design approach, the Instructional Design Lead will be responsible for a variety of learning experiences for talented women leaders and male allies in global health. This includes the continued evolution, refinement and contextualization of the Leadership Journey curricula. Beyond the core curricula, the Instructional Design Lead will create innovative, interactive, and exciting online tools such as workshops and e-learning modules to expand the technical and leadership skills of women leaders in health. 

WomenLift Health Job Openings: Communications Content Lead

Location: Flexible within US, Seattle or the California Bay Area Preferred
Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
Click here for more info.
WomenLift Health is seeking an experienced, innovative and dynamic Communications Content Lead to develop and drive an integrated content strategy across all platforms. In this role, you will be responsible for developing and overseeing editorial, website, social media and email, with a focus on driving engagement and action among our key stakeholders as well as broad brand recognition/credibility. We are looking for a creative leader with a superior editorial skillset who also brings a strategic, analytical, and innovative approach to the work. Reporting to the WomenLift Health Global Engagement Director, this individual must thrive in a dynamic and creative work environment, be a self-starter and a passionate change agent for advancing women’s leadership.

WomenLift Health Job Openings: Digital Manager

Location: Flexible within US, Seattle or the California Bay Area Preferred
Application Deadline: March 15, 2021
Click here for more info.
WomenLift Health is seeking an experienced, innovative and dynamic individual to manage the day-to-day digital communications for WomenLift Health. The successful candidate will be fluent in digital and social tools from social posting to content creation, curation and management, exhibit strong writing skills and communications judgement/acumen. This individual must thrive in a dynamic and creative work environment, be a self-starter and be a passionate change agent for advancing women’s leadership.

Job Opportunity: Chair of Division of Clinical Medicine at The University of Global Health Equity

Location: Butaro & Kigali, Rwanda
Click here for more info.
The Chair of the Division of Clinical

The Chair of the Division of Clinical Medicine, under the supervision of the Dean, is directly responsible for the establishment, development, leadership, coordination, supervision, and assessment of clinical medicine education. This involves thorough planning and directing the implementation of different programs, policies and procedures for the Division of Clinical Medicine.


TeachAids Launches COVID-19 Educational Platform for Kids
TeachAids has expanded CoviDB, and education database of COVID-19 educational resources vetted by experts, to now include videos for children of all ages.

Online List of COVID-19 Funding Opportunities
Stanford’s Research Management Group has created a website that provides a complete listing of funding opportunities for COVID-19 research available to all researchers (not just at Stanford).