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International Women's Day 2024: Dr Keren Middelkoop

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On International Women’s Day 2024, we celebrate all of the inspirational women at The Union, as we forge a more inclusive world for women.

The Union is a diverse organisation, with female staff, consultants and members around the world in various roles and fields.

Women make up 44% of the Union membership and 44% of our workforce.

Last year, The Union membership elected a new Board of Directors to drive forward our vision – A healthier world for all, free of tuberculosis and lung disease. We meet the three incredible women who are Union Board members.

Dr Keren Middelkoop

Clinical researcher and epidemiologist

Dr Keren Middelkoop

Dr Keren Middelkoop is an experienced clinician working in one of the highest TB and HIV burdened countries in the world. She has worked as a clinical researcher and epidemiologist in this field for nearly 20 years. Her work has spanned a wide range of studies including observational and epidemiological studies and clinical trials.

Keren's early work included exploring the interaction of HIV and TB epidemics at a population level and the impact of HIV antiretroviral therapy on TB rates in communities with high burdens of both diseases. More recent work includes transmission of TB – infection prevalence studies, molecular epidemiology studies and proof of concept studies exploring methods for detecting airborne Mtb in congregate settings.

Most recently, she has served as Principal Investigator on clinical trials assessing biomedical interventions for TB prevention – both infection and disease.

Why did you want to become a board member?

I was first elected to serve on The Union’s HIV section committee in 2012. Subsequently I served as Chair of the CCSA (2019 to 2020), at which time I was privileged to hold a seat on The Union Board.  In my time with The Union, I was inspired by the commitment and dedication of all those with whom I worked.

As a clinician and researcher, my work is motivated by the hope that it will provide solutions to some of the overwhelming health problems faced by my country and others in the African region. In this regard my purpose aligns with the mission of The Union.

How did you feel when you found out you were elected?

I was honoured to be elected from such an experienced slate of nominees. I value the opportunity to serve once more and contribute towards helping The Union achieve its important vision.

How will you support The Union to achieve its vision and mission?

I am familiar with the recent history of The Union and the challenges it has faced. Experience gained from leadership positions both at The Union and within my place of work at the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation and the University of Cape Town have given me insight and tools for strategic planning and leadership.

I hope to support The Union and its President by contributing to innovative planning and problem resolution.