For more information on the Commission, see our announcement.
Ann Starrs (Co-Chair)
Ann Starrs is President and CEO of the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which she joined in 2014. Previously, she was president of Family Care International, a nongovernmental organization that is dedicated to improving reproductive, maternal and newborn health throughout the developing world and which she helped cofound in 1986. She is a widely recognized expert in reproductive and maternal health and has authored or coauthored numerous papers and commentaries on global health policy issues during her nearly 30 years in the field. Ms. Starrs holds a master’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a certificate in demography from Princeton’s Office of Population Research.
Alex Ezeh (Co-Chair)
Dr. Alex Ezeh is the Executive Director of APHRC and honorary professor of public health at Wits University, South Africa. Dr. Ezeh has guided APHRC to become one of Africa’s foremost regional research centers addressing population, health and education issues. He also directs the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), an initiative to strengthen the training and retention of academics at African universities. He was a member of the RF-Lancet Commission on planetary health and currently serves on the Lancet Commission on the Future of Health in Africa. Dr. Ezeh holds an MA and PhD in demography from the University of Pennsylvania and an MS degree in Sociology from the University of Ibadan.
Dr. Gary Barker is the International Director and founder of Promundo, an NGO working in the United States, Brazil, Portugal, Rwanda and Burundi to promote gender justice. He works extensively to engage men and boys in achieving gender equality and ending violence against women, including by coordinating a multicountry survey on men’s attitudes and behaviors related to violence, fatherhood and gender equality. Dr. Barker earned a PhD in child and adolescent development from Loyola University and a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University.
Dr. Robert Blum is the William H. Gates Senior Professor and Chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has been Director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute since 2007. As a consultant to the World Bank, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, he has served on the Technical Advisory Group of the Child and Adolescent Health Department and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the Human Reproductive Program. Dr. Blum received an MD degree from Howard University, as well as a PhD and MPH from the University of Minnesota.
After the passing of Commissioner Willard Cates in March 2016, one spot on the Commission is in the process of being filled. Dr. Willard (Ward) Cates, Jr., was distinguished scientist and President Emeritus at FHI 360, a nonprofit human development organization working in more than 60 countries. Dr. Cates had more than 40 years of experience in the fields of women's health, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, contraceptive technology, and reproductive health services, and is a key member of the leadership team at the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN). He received his MD and MPH from Yale University and is board-certified in general preventive medicine with a specialty in epidemiology. For more information about this beloved member of the community, please read our memorial.
Anand Grover is a practicing lawyer in India and designated as a senior advocate. He is known for his efforts to use law to advance the rights of vulnerable and marginalized communities, including women, people living with HIV/AIDS in India, sex workers, drug users and LGBTI persons. He is Director of the HIV/AIDS Unit of the Lawyers Collective in India and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. He served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health from 2008 to 2014. He is currently a member of the Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance on Health, the Global Commission on Drug Policy and the Equitable Access Initiative. Mr. Grover earned a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Surrey, and his law degree from Bombay University.
Dr. Ilona Kickbusch is the Director of the Global Health Programme and Adjunct Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Previously, she served in senior positions at the World Health Organization and on the faculty at Yale University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Kickbusch graduated from the University of Konstanz, Germany, with a PhD in political science.
Dr. Laura Laski, an OB/GYN from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the Chief of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Branch of the Technical Division at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York. For the last 30 years, she has worked to advance the sexual and reproductive health of women and adolescents around the world, and has been in leadership positions at UNFPA for 20 years. Dr. Laski graduated with a degree in medicine from the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, and received a master’s of public health from the University of California at Berkeley.
Mónica Roa is Vice President of Strategy and External Relations at Women’s Link Worldwide, based in Madrid, Spain. She is most well-known for having filed a constitutional lawsuit that led to the liberalization of Colombia’s complete ban on abortion in 2006. At Women’s Link, which has offices in Bogota and Madrid, she leads the efforts to promote and defend abortion and other reproductive rights as human rights around the globe. Ms. Roa earned a law degree from the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia and a Master of Laws as a Global Public Service Scholar at New York University.
Dr. Zeba Sathar is a Senior Associate and Director of the Population Council’s office in Islamabad, Pakistan, managing programs that bridge all three of the Council’s strategic priorities: poverty, gender, and youth; reproductive health; and HIV/AIDS. She frequently publishes articles on gender and equality, safe abortion and postabortion care, maternal and child health, and family planning. She has been the Co-Lead for the Performance, Monitoring & Evidence Working Group of Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), United Nations Foundation since 2013. Dr. Sathar has a PhD in medical demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a master’s degree in demography from the London School of Economics.
Dr. Lale Say has a master of science in reproductive health research from Edinburgh University and a medical degree from the University of Istanbul. She works at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the World Health Organization, coordinating work on adolescents and at-risk populations. Dr. Say has worked at the World Health Organization since 2002, leading monitoring and evaluation activities and subsequently, as the coordinator of research capacity and program strengthening. Before joining WHO, Dr. Say worked at the Ministry of Health in Turkey managing and implementing programs, and at the Istanbul Medical School with clinical, research and teaching responsibilities. Dr. Say has published substantially on various sexual and reproductive health topics.
Awa Marie Coll Seck
Dr. Awa Marie Coll Seck serves as Minister of Health of the Republic of Senegal and is a member of the WHO Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response. In her former role at the United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS, Dr. Coll Seck worked with medical professionals, researchers, and policy experts to develop guidance for national and community responses to the AIDS epidemic. In addition to authoring more than 150 scientific publications, she is an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences and Technologies of Senegal. Dr. Coll Seck earned a medical degree from the University of Dakar.
Dr. Gamal Serour is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Director for the International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research (IICPSR) at Al Azhar University in Cairo, a former FIGO President, and a referee for international journals on human reproduction, ethics and population policies. Dr. Serour and his colleagues opened a reproductive health training center at Al Azhar in 1976 to educate obstetricians, gynecologists, nurses, midwives, religious leaders and policymakers from Africa and Asia on the latest techniques and equipment related to fertility and fertility regulation, sexual and reproductive health, gender issues, population policy, and children’s and women’s rights. He holds a medical degree from Cairo University and received a UN Population Award in 2013.
Dr. Susheela Singh is Vice President for Research at the Guttmacher Institute, where she has worked since 1985. She has written and co-authored numerous journal articles, monographs, and other publications on a wide variety of sexual and reproductive health issues affecting the United States and other developed and developing countries—including the costs and benefits of providing sexual and reproductive health services, documentation of abortion and unplanned pregnancy and their consequences, and adolescent sexual and reproductive behavior. Dr. Singh earned her PhD in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley.
Karin Stenberg, a health economist with the World Health Organization in Geneva, works in the area of economic evaluation and costing. She is a member of the UN interagency working group developing the OneHealth Tool for supporting country-level strategic health planning, and has supported multiple global investment case analyses including the global investment framework for women’s and children’s health. Ms. Stenberg graduated from Lund University with a master’s degree in economics.
Dr. Marleen Temmerman, a Belgian national, is the Director of the Women’s Health & Research Network in East Africa based at Aga Khan University in Nairobi. Previously, she served as Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Director, Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction at the World Health Organization. She has also served as a senator in the Belgian Parliament, was a founding member of the International Center for Reproductive Health and a member of the independent Expert Review Group, the principal review group on the United Nations Secretary-General’s Strategy on Information and Accountability for Women and Children. Dr. Temmerman holds a medical degree and a PhD in obstetrics and gynecology from Ghent University.