Prof Olive Shisana

DEPARTMENT: Office of the CEO (OCEO)
TELEPHONE: +27 (0)21 466 7902

Prof. Olive Shisana was the first woman and the first black woman to be appointed as President and CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council on 1 August 2005. She is a public health professional with extensive research, management and policy development experience spanning over 19 years.

Before accepting the position as CEO, she served as executive director of the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health research programme at the HSRC, where she headed a national programme and Africa-wide network on the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health Research Alliance (SAHARA). She has also served as professor and head of department of Health Systems Management and Policy at the Medical University of Southern Africa.

She has global health experience, obtained while serving as executive director of the World Health Organisation's Family and Community Health, where she oversaw HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, women's health and child and youth development programmes. At a national level, Prof. Shisana served as director general of the South African Department of Health, the first woman to head the national health services. She had previously served as a specialist scientist at the South African Medical Research Council.

She co-ordinated the establishment of the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape, which has been in operation since 1993. She also served as the Chief Statistical Advisor to the District of Columbia, responsible for public health, mental health and social services research.

Prof. Shisana has addressed a number of global and international meetings such as the 49th World Health Assembly as chairperson of one of the committees, the 4th International Conference on Health Promotion, the Development Committee of the European Union Parliament, the Committee for Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in the follow-up to the World Summit for Children, and a meeting of the U.S Congressional Brain Trust, where she spoke on HIV/AIDS.

She obtained her Doctor of Science degree in behavioural sciences at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health, an institution that admitted her to the Society of Scholars - an honour given to public health graduates who have made significant contribution to public health. She is also a founding member of the South African Academy of Sciences, immediate past President of International Social Science Council and an honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town.

Over the last five years, Prof. Shisana was the principal investigator and main author of several reports eminating from large studies, and has written numerous chapters in books and articles in scientific journals.