Professor Helen Rees, Executive Director

Professor Helen Rees, Executive Director

Professor Helen Rees is Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where she is also a Personal Professor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Co-Director of the Wits African Local Initiative for Vaccinology Expertise (ALIVE). She is an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the Faculty of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, an Honorary Fellow at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University, and an alumna of Harvard Business School. Helen is internationally renowned for her research and policy work in HIV, vaccines, reproductive health and drug regulation.

She is recognised as an outstanding chairperson and facilitator who is able to bring the best out of an audience and derive themes and recommendations from the most diverse discussions. For this reason, she has been an invited speaker at many international conferences, and she has chaired many national and international committees. In 2018 Professor Rees contributed towards 19 manuscripts which were published in ISI indexed journals.

In South Africa she is the Chair of the Board of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). She is the Co-chair of the South African Health Data Advisory Coordination Committee, a member of South Africa’s National Advisory Group on Immunization and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases. She chairs the World Health Organisation’s African Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group and the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee on Polio and is Co-Chair of WHO’s Ebola Vaccine Working Group. She is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness innovation (CEPI) and chairs the Scientific Advisory Board of the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance study (CHAMPS). She serves on the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) Board, Chairs the GAVI Programme and Policy Committee and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the HIV Prevention Trials network and the Population Council’s Expert Advisory Panel on Microbicides. Helen has received many national and international awards for her contribution to African health and global health including being made an Officer of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to global health, and being awarded the Order of the Baobab, one of South Africa’s highest honours, for her contribution to maternal and child health.

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