Professor Senait Fisseha is a globally recognized public health leader and a lifelong gender champion of reproductive health & rights. She currently serves as the Vice President of Global Programs at the Buffett Foundation, the Chief advisor of the director General of the World Health Organization and adjunct faculty at The University of Michigan School of Medicine
Trained as an attorney and a physician, her unique ability to bring the advocacy, practitioner, and policymaking communities together and build broad coalitions of support has fundamentally shifted the global conversation around reimagining global health. Her contributions to the field of women’s health, especially through her thought leadership in her role as the Vice President of Global Programs at the
Buffett Foundation and her leadership at the Center for International Reproductive Health Training at the University of Michigan, has been instrumental to the advancement of reproductive health services, education and gender equality and has set a high standard for prioritizing and advocating for women’s health and leadership for countries throughout the Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and around the world. She was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy in 2019 and top forty most forward-thinking women in 2020 by Athena40.
She has also been instrumental in the establishment of ESOG-ACOG-CIHRT collaboration to strengthen ESOG’s capacity in revitalization of Ethiopian Journal of reproductive Health which has become 4X a year publication since 2017 and recently indexed in African journal online and SCOPUS , Creation of harmonized resident-ship curriculum and minimal requirement documents- the first in Ethiopian specialty training history , in developing ethical practice on Ob/ Gyn document in 2019 , Leadership capacity development for ObGyn , strengthening Program communication, in establishing Examination and certification- managed to give national exam for residents - the first of its kind started in 2017 and developing the capacity of delivering CME/CPD courses to members .
She has also been instrumental in the establishment of ob-gyn residency and fellowship programs at SPHMMC, she has created a model of high-quality reproductive health MICHU clinics integrated within the existing teaching public hospitals. These centers have been opened in several hospitals and apart from providing high quality services to thousands of women, they are playing a vital role in training of future RH service providers and champions.
She has also played a key role in the commencement of Ob-Gyn residency at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical college followed by various fellowship programs which motivated the establishment of similar programs in other colleges and universities. She has supported the establishment of the first and only public IVF and renal transplant centers in the country through her unreserved support, these centers are currently changing lives of many couples and serving the community across the country. She has also played a key role to respond to the national call through ESOG-CIHRT collaboration for emergency response and restoration of health facilities affected by war and conflict in the north part of the country.
In her tole as the Vice President of Global Programs, Professor Fisseha oversees the foundation’s international grant making to advance women’s health and rights globally. An Obstetrician and Gynecologist specialist, prior to her current role, Dr. Fisseha served as the Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility at the University of Michigan, Medical Director of University of Michigan’s Center for Reproductive Medicine and founding Executive Director of the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT). While at Michigan, she also co-directed the Medical School’s Path of Excellence in Global Health & Disparities. As leader of the U-M-Ethiopia Collaborative Platform for Global Health, she helped Michigan forge strong partnerships various academic institutions and with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health. She was one of the recipients of the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial Alumni Awards—an award established exclusively for the 200th year of the university and was awarded to twenty alumni whose achievements reflect the University’s traditions of intellectual creativity, academic excellence, and civic engagement of national and international service with the highest impact.
In addition Professor Fisseha serves many continental and global roles including: African Union Covid Commissioner chaired by HE President Cyril Ramaphosa, Co- Chair of the Scientific Committee of the AU/ Africa CDC Conference on Public Health In AFRICA, Serve on the presidential advisory council for the president of Rwanda, Co- Chair of the WHO Expert group for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, Co-Chair of the High-Level Advisory Committee on Gender and Health for UN University on Global Health, WHO Global Policy Group, Council member - WHO Economic Council for health, UNFPA ICPD Commissioner, Commissioner of the Chatham house universal health coverage Commission, Commissioner, Lancet SIGHT Commission on peace, justice, gender equality and transformation of institutions for healthy societies, World Bank's Global Financing Facility (GFF) Trust Fund committee member, Board members of University of Global health Equity, and Advising Ethiopian Ministry of Health.
Professor Fisseha earned an undergraduate degree from Rosary College in River Forest, Illinois, M.D. and J.D. degrees from Southern Illinois University, and a certificate in International Human Rights and Comparative Law from the University of Oxford, and her specialty and sub-specialty training at the University of Michigan. She has received numerous awards and was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans for 2018 by New African magazine.
She received the highest the recognition for her transformative contribution to the Ethiopian Health Sector by the Ethiopian Prime Ministry in 2019 and had received the Ethiopian Ministry of Health’s highest award in 2015. In 2016, the U-M Medical Center Alumni Society presented her its Early Distinguished Career Achievement Award. In 2017, she received the World Health Organization’s Service Medal Award. She received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award from Southern Illinois University.