Professor Helen Rees is a graduate of the Senior Executive Programme, Southern Africa, Harvard Business School and a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, UK. In addition she is a doctor instructor for family planning, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, UK, and holds a Diploma of Child Health from the South African Colleges of Medicine, a Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, UK, an MA Social and Political Sciences (CANTAB), Newhall College, Cambridge University, and an MB BChir (CANTAB), Newhall College, Cambridge University.
She is founder and executive director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where she is also a personal professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. She is an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an honorary fellow at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University.
She has received many national and international awards for her contribution to African health and global health including being made an Officer of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to global health, and in 2016 being awarded one of the South Africa’s highest honours, the Order of the Baobab, for her contribution to HIV research and to the health of women and children. Her other awards include Lifetime and Gold awards for her distinguished contribution to science, society and women’s health by the South African Academy of Science, the South African Medical Association, the South African Department of Science and Technology and BHP Billiton.
She is internationally renowned for her research and policy work in reproductive health, HIV and vaccines, and has been the principal investigator on many HIV, STI and reproductive health clinical studies. She has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, to her name, has delivered over 200 plenary and keynote addresses, has chaired over 100 national and international scientific and policy committees, and served or chaired more than 100 conferences.
Professor Rees serves on many international scientific committees and boards. Among other positions, she is chair of World Health Organization’s (WHO) African Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) and its International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee on Polio.