Prof Helen Rees

Prof Helen Rees

Executive Director

Professor Helen Rees is internationally recognised as an outstanding global health leader working for thirty years in global health. A Medical Doctor by profession, in 1994 Helen founded the University of Witwatersrand’s Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, one of Africa’s largest Research Institutes. With Wits RHI, she has contributed enormously to ‘Lower/Middle-Income Country’ (LMIC) relevant research focusing on disease prevention and treatment, HIV/STIs, vaccines, infectious diseases, reproductive health, and climate and health, and has over 250 publications to her name. Professor Rees is a Personal Professor in the University of Witwatersrand’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Co-Director of Wits African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise (ALIVE), a Wits University flagship programme. She is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Clinical Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and an Honorary Fellow in Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University. She has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science (Medicine) by the University of London and is a graduate of Harvard Business School (HBS) having completed the HBS Senior Executive Programme for Southern Africa.

Professor Rees is recognised as an outstanding chairperson with an ability to create consensus, to synthesize recommendations from multifaceted inputs, and to link science to policy. She has chaired over 100 national and international scientific and policy committees and has delivered over 400 invited plenary and keynote addresses and contributed to the organisation of more than 100 conferences. She is the Chair of the WHO African Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (RITAG). She has chaired many WHO committees and is currently Co-chair of the WHO Ebola Vaccine working group, Co-chair of the WHO Evidence Considerations for Vaccine Policy Working Group, Co-chair of WHO’s HIV Vaccine and Monoclonal Antibody Technical Committee and a member of the WHO SAGE Working Group on HPV vaccines. She is the chair of WHO’s International Health Regulation (IHR) Polio Emergency Committee and a member of the WHO Scientific and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards.

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