When we think of leaders in the public health space, Prof Jackie Stewart’s name is sure to come up. With a PhD in Psychology and over 30 years of experience in implementing, managing, and evaluating community-based interventions across Sub-Saharan Africa, Prof Stewart has been at the forefront of addressing health inequities in the region.
During her 12-year stint at Stellenbosch University, Prof Stewart directed the Masiphuhlisane Research Centre in Khayelitsha, focusing on violence and trauma, community-based intervention and research, and mentorship of early career professionals. Her work in partnership with universities such as UCLA, Bath University, University College London, Queens University, and Belfast University led to the publication of 36 peer-reviewed papers.
Prof Stewart’s expertise has been invaluable in running international training workshops on behalf of UNICEF and WHO. She also served as a visiting Research Fellow at Queens University and the University of Bath. Her vast experience has given her significant insight into the political and social determinants of health inequity.
In January 2021, Prof Stewart took on a new challenge as the Executive Director of SHAWCO. This organisation, although student-led, requires expert financial and operational management to maintain its sustainability. Prof Stewart provides strategic direction, leadership, governance oversight, financial management, mentoring, and UCT students and staff training.
As a champion for community-based intervention and research, Prof Stewart understands the importance of building capacity in young academics to enable them to address issues surrounding health inequity both locally and globally. Her appointment as SHAWCO’s Executive Director is a testament to her unwavering commitment to this cause.
Prof Stewart’s commitment to public health is not limited to her role at SHAWCO. She also serves as the Director of Advocacy, Community Engagement, and Services at the Division of Global Surgery at UCT. Her recent promotion to the position of Associate Professor within the Division is a testament to the impact of her work.
In conclusion, we at SHAWCO are proud to have Prof Stewart as our Executive Director. Her expertise, leadership, and commitment to community-based intervention and research have been instrumental in our continued success. We look forward to the ongoing impact of her work on the lives of those we serve.