Interview with GHC Executive Director Christine Sow

As you may have heard in our announcement last week, GHC is excited to announce Dr. Christine Sow as its new Executive Director! Dr. Sow is a veteran of UNICEF, USAID, and other highly esteemed global health organizations.  Her announcement has reached a number of excited news outlets, check out the impressive list here.  To help members and the global health community get to know our new leader, we asked her a few questions:

GHC: What is your background in global health?

CSOW_GHC_3Sow: I decided when I was in college that I wanted to pursue a career in public health. I had been interested in social justice for some time, and realized that women in particular cannot mobilize around their rights if they are preoccupied with accessing adequate care for themselves and their families. So public health seemed like a good way to have a direct and widespread impact. I started work as a technician – first working as a demographer and then later as an epidemiologist focusing on HIV surveillance in most at risk populations. From there I was fortunate enough to “fall into” health team management and to realize that I like it! I’ve spent many years in West Africa and have been honored to work with individuals and professionals who are incredibly dedicated to improving the lives of their communities. They’ve been the real inspiration to me to advocate within the US global health community for increased visibility, better policies and greater investment. The US development community has so much to contribute and I hope that my work can help increase its efficiency, effectiveness and strategic impact.

GHC: Why is GHC an important and unique organization for the global health community?

Sow: GHC is a well-established organization that has an incredibly wide range of voices within its constituency. This means that we can help make connections between and across organizations, agencies and individuals that might not happen otherwise. My particular interest is to make sure that we optimize our collective voice so that we can improve the lives of people all over the world. That means being strategic in how we choose our priorities; I believe our biggest challenge will be maintaining focus when there are so many critical issues demanding attention. GHC will also need to continue evolving as the post-2015 agenda comes into focus.

GHC: Where do you see GHC in 5 years?

Sow: I think this is a very exciting time for the GHC. We have the pretty unique chance to review how we’ve been doing things and to make some course adjustments to better support the post-2015 development agenda. This means that we will continue to work with the US Government to ensure its full support of global health, but at the same time we will be expanding our reach more globally. We will also be looking to support and tap into emerging trends in development such as the increased commitment of the private sector to guarantee that we remain a relevant and effective voice for change.

GHC: Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

Sow: I love to run and am hoping to learn how to kick box in 2014!