Dr. Anu Kumar, India/USA
President and CEO
PhD, Anthropology, and MPH, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Dr. Kumar, an anthropologist and public health expert, joined Ipas in 1992 and now serves as President and CEO. Her wide-ranging roles at Ipas, a global health organization focused on safe abortion care, include leadership of technical innovation, development long-range strategy and oversight of global partnerships.
After conducting field research in Northern India as a Fulbright Scholar in the early 1990s, Dr. Kumar began her career in public health working as a social scientist at the World Health Organization. In that role, she provided technical support on gender, fertility and qualitative research methods to social science researchers in low- and middle-income countries. She later became a program officer with The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where her work included developing the foundation’s grant-making strategies in areas including global reproductive health and rights.
Today she is recognized as a thought leader in the field of reproductive health and rights, speaking frequently at global forums and publishing in blogs and peer-reviewed journals. A 2009 article she co-authored a landmark paper that established the definition and framework for the phenomenon of abortion stigma, creating a new area of focus for scholars and advocates. She is also among those speaking out about the critical need to ensure that abortion and contraception services are available to women in humanitarian settings such as the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. And she is an unwavering and unapologetic voice for the human rights of women, which she believes are essential to a functioning democracy.
Dr. Kumar is a fellow of the Society of Family Planning, and has also served on their board along with the board of directors of IntraHealth International, Center for Women Policy Studies, and other organizations. She has degrees in anthropology and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Mahmoud Fathalla Lecture
Abstract to be published soon