New head for HIV/Aids research at HSRC

Laetitia Rispel, former head of the Gauteng health department, has been appointed as the head of the Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) HIV/Aids research programme.

Rispel will take up her position as executive director of the social aspects of HIV/Aids and Health (SAHA) research programme on March 1, the HSRC said on Monday.

She succeeds Olive Shisana, who took over as president and CEO of the HSRC in August 2005.

“Her experience in public health and in implementing the comprehensive programme on HIV/Aids in Gauteng will be immensely useful in further shaping the social aspects of HIV/Aids and health research programme of the HSRC. She will be able to formulate policy-relevant research questions,” Shisana said.

Rispel has worked for the Gauteng health department for nine years, first as a senior manager, and for the past five years as head of the department.

She gained academic and research experience at the Centre for Health Policy, a research unit within the Wits University Department of Community Health, where she worked for eight years.

She obtained a PhD in Health Systems from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a Masters in Community Health from the same university.

In 2002, she completed a senior executive programme at Harvard University in conjunction with Wits University.

“Her leadership and management abilities in dealing with change and transformation of complex programmes in the health sector have been widely acknowledged,” Shisana said.

The SAHA programme conducts research on the social determinants of health, not only with regard to HIV/Aids, but also for public health in general. - Sapa

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