HealthWomen in STEM

Balancing for better in global public health research

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD2019) is all about BALANCE! One of the areas often singled out for its imbalance is the workplace – more so – in the field of science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This however is not the case at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).

On IWD2019, we celebrate the presence of balance at IAVI by shining the spotlight on two women who are part of the amazing two thirds of IAVI’s Africa Region team, leading, managing and implementing research that has the potential to transform numerous lives the world over. Happy Women’s Day!  

Mercy Mshai – Nairobi, Kenya

I am a Laboratory Quality assurance specialist. I support site Lab staff in ensuring quality in all IAVI studies conducted at our partner clinical research centers (CRC) spread across 5 countries (Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia). I also contribute to the training for continuous quality improvement in those centers.

While I love my job, I admit it does have some challenges, particularly ensuring all team members embrace and own the culture of quality – quality is not a one-man-show! I am passionate about what I do because I know that the good results will benefit many. I also take great pride in being part of a team that is looking for a vaccine that will have a major positive social impact.

As a mother, then a scientist, I think am a great role model to my children first, then the whole world since I contribute to a great initiative to address a health challenge that affects the whole world.

Kristin Croucher – Cape Town, South Africa

I am a senior director of clinical operations for global TB vaccine clinical trials.

The fact that I am contributing to translating research into affordable, accessible public health solutions that will impact the people who need them most, keeps me extremely motivated. This makes it easier to handle the challenges of managing complex clinical trials in resource limited settings which often results in many long hours.

I believe I’m contributing to a more balanced world by being an example to those around me of how to balance hard work and a healthy family life!

(First published on LinkedIn, 8 March 2019)