Spotlight

Yemane Berhane is a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health.  He received his Doctor of Medicine (1987) and Master of Public Health (1992) from Addis Ababa University and a PhD from Umea University, Sweden (2000). Prof. Yemane directed the Addis Continental Institute of Public Health since its inception in 2006. The collaboration the Institute has created with national universities have provided opportunities for thousands of masters’ level public health training in ten public universities. In addition, more than 80 PhD students were enrolled through the network of universities. Yemane Berhane has personally advised hundreds of master’s students and 40 PhD students throughout his career. He has successfully worked with academicians and researchers in Africa, the Americas and Europe. Completed PhD students were from Addis Ababa University (5), Haramaya University (11), Gondar University (8), Hawassa University (3), Mekelle University (5), [Ethiopia]; Umea University, Umea, Sweden (4), Bergen University, Bergen, Norway (1), Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden (2),  and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany (1). 

Positions and tasks:

2006- present Director and Senior Professor, Addis Continental Institute of Public Health is an accredited higher learning Institute and center of excellence for public health research in Ethiopia. Yemane has led many research projects conducted by the Institute that were funded by NIH, CDC, USAID, ICRD, Sida, FORMAS, Welcome Thrust, and The Gates Foundation…
May 2018- Adjunct Professor. Department of Tropical Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University. New Orleans, United States of America.
Feb 2018- Associated Researcher at Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH); International Child Health and Nutrition. Uppsala University, Sweden
May 2017-Apr 2020 Adjunct Professor. Public Health Foundation of India. New Delhi, India.
Jun 2016-Jun 2020 Adjunct Professor. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Public Health, University of Gondar. Gondar, Ethiopia.
Aug 2017-present Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee (“SAC”) to the Swedish Institute for Global Health Transformation (“SIGHT”). Stockholm, Sweden.
2016-present Chairperson, the National Immunization Technical Advisory Board, Federal Ministry of Health: the board is responsible to advising the Ministry on all immunization related matters in Ethiopia
2015-present Member, the DIFD/UK Government Independent Advisory Board on What Works to Prevent Violence against Women. London, United Kingdom.
Since 1993

(1993-2006 full time)

Faculty at Addis Ababa University (currently honorary staff). Besides his duties in teaching, research, and public services he has served as chair of the Department of Community Health at the Faculty of Medicine (now School of Public Health) for two terms.  
1993- present Principal Investigator/con-investigator. Yemane Berhane  has served in this capacity for many national and international activities including: National Blindness and Low Vision Survey, Injection safety national survey, Evaluation of the strategic plan for Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response initiative in Ethiopia, Evaluation of the first national multi-sectoral HIV/AIDS response in Ethiopia, critical review of the HIV Strategic Framework and Strategic Issues in Ethiopia, and the first national population based survey on HIV/AIDS. 
2016-present Chairperson, the National Immunization Technical Advisory Board, Federal Ministry of Health: the board is responsible to advising the Ministry on all immunization related matters in Ethiopia
2015-present Member the DIFD/UK Government Independent Advisory Board on What Works to Prevent Violence against Women
2015-present Chairperson, the Ethiopian Public Health Association General Assembly
Oct-Dec 2015 Visiting Professor of Global Health and population. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Global Health & Population and Department of Epidemiology. Boston, MA, U.S.A 
2010- present Founding Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences.
2012-2014 Founding Chair for Global Evaluation and Monitoring Network for Health (GEMNet-Health): Participated from development the founding documents to leading the network in its first term. The Network is currently serving as technical hub for short term trainings on monitoring and evaluation of health programs.
2005- 2015 Member, WHO/AFRO Technical Advisory Group on Measles Control in Africa. 
1999- 2009 Editor-in-Chief, Ethiopian Journal of Health Development – a multi-disciplinary public health journal. (http://www.cih.uib.no/journals/EJHD). The journal was revitalized with a new look, improved editorial policy/procedures, fast processing  and it was made open access to enhance wider dissemination during his tenure as Editor-in-Chief.
2006- 2008 Board Member, Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI). As member of the Board participated in the development of strategic plan that aimed to reorganize AHRI as an independent research institute.
2005-2006 African Regional Director and Principal Instructor, Regional Anglophone Africa Training Workshop On Monitoring And Evaluation Of Population, Health And Nutrition Programs. Regional Training is offered through a collaborative effort of the Addis Ababa University, MEASURE Evaluation, and the Ethiopian Public Health Association. Prof Yemane continued to serve as an international trainer of trainers until now. The collaboration with North Carolina and Tulane universities later developed into the Global Evaluation and Monitoring Network.
2001-2007 Chairman of the Taskforce, Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response initiative. Ministry of Health/WHO Country Office. The Taskforce developed technical guidelines for disease surveillance and response and provided a cascade of training in various regions of the country.
1993-2006 Site Leader and Principal Investigator, The Butajira Rural Health Program, a demographic and health research program focusing on reproductive health, population dynamics and environmental issues involving more than 50,000 populations. The site has been serving as a research and training platform for the School of Public Health since 1987.
Feb- Jun 2004 Visiting Professor. Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, Umea University, Sweden. 
2001- 2002 Associate Vice President of Addis Ababa University for Research and Graduate Programs.  Responsible for all postgraduate programs and research activities at Addis Ababa University. 
1999-2000 Expert educator and facilitator in a series of Pharmaco-vigilance (Pharmaco-epidemiology) workshops organized by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia in Nazareth (December 1999 and February 2000) and Bahirdar (May 2000). 
1998-2001 Member, Co-coordinating Committee of International Network of Demographic Surveillance sites (INDEPTH) in Africa and Asia. 
1998-2002 Chairman, the Ethiopian Health Science Council, at the Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission. The council was established to spear head the growth and development of health sciences in Ethiopia. The Council provided guidelines to shape research and research training and facilitated funding from Government sources and external funding.
1999 -2001 Member, Board of the Health Education Center, Ministry of Health. 
1996- 2001 Member/Chair, National Ethical Clearance Committee, Ethiopian Science and Technology Council.  Ethiopian Science and Technology Council. The Committee produced the first national ethical guidelines for health research in Ethiopia during this period and conducted review of research proposals in a systematic and standard manner for the first time in Ethiopia. 
1995-1999 President, Ethiopian Public Health Association
1990-1991 Expert, EPI division, Epidemiology Department, Ministry of Health.
1989-1990 Vice-Chairman, Ethiopian Red Cross Society, Kenbata and Hadiya district branch society office. 
1988-1990 District Health Manager/Medical Director and Physician, Hosanna Hospital, South Shoa region of Ethiopia. Responsible for managing all preventive and curative health in the district.

Journal Reviewer: served as peer reviewer on several occasions for the following journals; Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, Ethiopian Medical Journal, Health Policy, Social science and Medicine, The Lancet, Global Health Action, BMC series, PLOS One, International Journal of Nursing Studies, and Vaccine.

Journal Editorial Advisory Board Member:  Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, Indian Journal of Public Health, and East African Journal of Sciences.

Publications

Prof. Yemane Berhane has published extensively in peer reviewed journals mainly in the areas of maternal and child health, nutrition, immunization, infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and gender-based violence. He has co-authored more than 300 scientific works in collaboration with national and international researchers. Publications in the last two years include: He has also Edited and Co-edited four books: ‘Epidemiology and Ecology of health diseases in Ethiopia’,  ‘Epidemiological Synthesis of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia’, 2008 version, ‘Epidemiological Synthesis of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia’, 2013 version, and ‘Reproductive and Child Health with Focus on Ethiopia and other Developing Countries’, 2014.

Merits

Gold Medal and Certificate: Senior Public Health Research Award of the Ethiopian Public Health Association for outstanding achievements in conducting and promoting public health research in Ethiopia. October 2002.

Certificate of Appreciation: Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University, for dedicated long service as member of the Research and Publications Committee of the Faculty. August 2006.

Outstanding Leadership Award: INDEPTH-Network for outstanding leadership provided to the Network during 1998-2002. September 2008.

Special Certificate of Recognition: University of Gondar, for immense contribution for the first PhD program at the University. June 2013.

Special Jubilee Award: Ethiopian Public Health Association for contributions as its President during 1995-1999.  February 2014.

Special Jubilee Award: Ethiopian Public Health Association for contributions as Editor-in-chief of the Ethiopian Journal of Health Development.  February 2014.

Certificate of Appreciation: Certificate of appreciation for services as founding chair of the Global Evaluation and Monitoring Network for Health (GEMNet-Health). February 2015

Honorary Doctorate, Doctor Honoris Causa, awarded by Uppsala University, Sweden, for outstanding scholarly contributions and promoting research in Ethiopia and internationally.  January 2019

 

Q&A’s with Professor Yemane Berhane

P2P e-Health Newsletter (P2P e-HNL):  Can you tell us about your upbringing?

Prof Yemane Berhane (YB):  I was born in Harar and brought up in Addis Ababa. My parents had eight children, I am their fourth child. I have many sweet memories with my siblings, we had so much fun together. Our late father was a work-manic and taught us how to cope with difficult situations. Our mother is a very special person who completely dedicated her life to make us successful. She is an exemplary woman who taught us being fair, respectful and caring unconditionally is humanity. Both were determined to educate their children, every one of us. I went to several public schools in Addis Ababa to complete my primary and secondary education. I studied medicine at Addis Ababa University. My family is still very close, and we continue having fun when we meet.

P2P e-HNL: Could you say a word or two about your family?

YB: I met my beloved wife, friend and colleague while studying medicine together and we are living together happily ever since. We have three children, now all are young adults. They are my greatest source of pleasure; their unconditional love makes me desire to work harder in order to make them even more proud.

P2P e-HNL: What propelled you to enter the field of medicine/public health?

YB: My father’s saying, “my son will be a doctor”, used to always ring in my ears when I was a child. However, when it came to filling out a form for university admission, I was tempted to choose agricultural engineering, an interest I developed due to my exposure to large mechanized farms while staying with my uncle who graduated from Haramaya agriculture college. A hard choice but my childhood ambition won, and I got into medical school …my father’s wish was fulfilled. My public health passion arose and developed when I was working in a rural hospital in Hosanna. I was tasked to handle a huge meningitis epidemic that threatened the life of hundreds of thousands in my hospital catchment area. That was a big challenge and I learned a life time lesson. It showed me the power of prevention. The gratification from saving thousands of lives through proper implementation of effective interventions such as vaccination was immense …so I decided to dedicate my life to saving people from misery of ill-health and promote healthy life.

P2P e-HNL: Are you still involved in direct patient care?

YB: Unfortunately, I am not currently involved in direct patient care. This is something you cannot do in Ethiopia. Combining clinical, public health work, teaching and research is hard. I try to maintain links to public health practice and policy besides my teaching and research responsibilities.

P2P e-HNL: How do you juggle between research and other responsibilities?

YB: That is not easy, it requires working hard and longer hours every day. Having a dedicated team to support me and share responsibilities was a blessing. I have had amazing group of people around me throughout my career, people  who shared responsibilities and made my career enjoyable and successful. I wish to thank everyone of them at this juncture.

P2P e-HNL: We read you are prolific in research output? How do you seek and obtain collaboration with like-minded researchers?

YB: I have an open-mind to new initiatives and I enjoy working with people. I like collaborations that give opportunities to young researchers in Ethiopia, young people bring energy and enthusiasm. Working together with groups that have different sets of skills and competences is fascinating. I am not interested in personal ownership of research outputs, so I try to encourage my younger colleagues to publish. That of course take a lot of time, but it gives me a much more gratification to see them advancing their career. Nurturing collaborations requires understanding peoples motive and also setting a common ground for mutually benefiting initiatives. I was fortunate to have worked with world-class researchers from all corners of the world. We have done together quite a lot and wish to thank them all for long years of collaborations.

P2P e-HNL: Do (did) you have any role model within or outside of your field that inspired you? 

YB: I admire most the late Prof. Edemariam Tsega since my time in medical school. His dedication to science and patient care was unparalleled. 

P2P e-HNL: What do you see yourself doing in, say, 10 years?

YB: Well thinking about the future in the current Ethiopian context sounds like more an illusion, but God willing, I hope to continue being a resource person for public health education and policy issues for my country and globally. I also wish to have more time to reflect and write. 

P2P e-HNL: What do you like to do in your spare time?

YB: I very much like spending time with family and friends in my spare time. I like visiting historical sites. Some weekends I watch soccer.

P2P e-HNL: Do you have any advice to students who struggle to pick out a future career?

YB: Picking out a career is not easy without having a passion and commitment for something, which could be, for example, to stand for victims, to save lives, to innovate farming practices.  That passion will provide the impetus to work hard and stay focused on the set goals. So, my advice is first to encourage students to develop a passion for what they want to stand for.

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