Dr. Olive Shisana has a doctor of science degree from The Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an honorary professor at the University of Cape Town. She served as Director General for the Department of Health in South Africa under the Mandela Administration, where she led the development of transformative policies and strategies for health service provision of the population and ensured services were provided to a population of more than 40 million. She also served as Executive Director (number 2 level) at the World Health Organization directing programs for child health, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and women’s health. She served as CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council for 10 years and before then she was the founder and later served as Executive Director of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS as well as the founder of the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA).
Dr. Shisana is a social epidemiologist who conducts national research studies aimed at evidenced-based health policy and program development. She is a world-renowned expert in HIV, having published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters and monographs and is Winner of the Academy of Science of South Africa’s “Science for Society” Gold Medal award, 2013. She also won Public and Utilities Sector of the CEO Magazine’s South Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Business and Government award in 2008 and 2009. She led in the development of the national health insurance policy and plan for South Africa. She was named as one of the 100 World Class South Africans by City Press in association with Xtrata. She also led the development of the new University, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. She currently serves on the High Level Panel appointed by the South African Parliament to examine the impact of legislation on transformation of the South African society. In particular, she serves as chair of the working group in poverty, unemployment and wealth distribution. She served on the Board of Emory University Global Health for five years. Recently she co-chaired the 2016 International AIDS conference held in Durban, South Africa.