Dr. Ana Langer, the keynote speaker for the Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series, 5 p.m. Nov. 7, 2013, at the Husky Union Building (HUB) North Ballroom, is respected worldwide as a leader in using research findings to influence policy and improve the overall quality of health care for women and families.

Dr. Langer, a physician specializing in pediatrics and neonatology, leads the Women and Health Initiative at Harvard, and for the past 25 years, she has been a leading researcher and advocate for the improvement of women’s health.

Dr. Langer was the President and CEO of EngenderHealth from 2005-2010. Prior to joining EngenderHealth, she lived in Mexico for more than 20 years, which served as a base for launching initiatives throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to improve women’s health. As a special advisor to the Minister of Health in Mexico City, and as Director of the Division of Research on Women and Children’s Health for the National Institute of Public Health in Cuernavaca, Dr. Langer led efforts to advance policies aimed at reducing maternal mortality and disability. Dr. Langer also served as the Population Council’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, overseeing reproductive health, family planning, and HIV prevention programs and research in more than 10 countries. As Acting Director of the Council’s Reproductive Health program, Dr. Langer guided global work to reduce unwanted pregnancy, improve access to safe abortion, and test the safety and efficacy of microbicides to prevent HIV.

Dr. Langer earned her medical degree from the National University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to a profile in Women's enews, Langer's  commitment to improving women's health can be traced back to the genocide in Europe during World War II, when her parents fled the Nazis in Austria. "In their new homeland, Argentina, the family lived under an unstable government. But both parents, who were physicians, emphasized to their daughter that if she became a doctor herself, she should use her life's work to create social change..."

"My interest in maternal health expanded to sexual and reproductive health and rights when I saw how interconnected these issues really are,' Langer told Women's enews. "Sometimes there are separate programs for family planning, sexual health and HIV, but it is critical to take a holistic approach to programming--with the woman at the center."

Event information:

The Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series presents: Ana Langer, MD, Professor of the Practice of Public Health; Director, Women and Health Initiative; Director, Maternal Health Task Force Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, on “Maternal Health: Achievements So Far and Challenges Ahead.”

Lecture at 5 p.m., followed by a networking reception at 6 p.m. For more information, contact the Global Health Resource Center (GHRC): ghrc@u.washington.edu or 206.685.7362.

This event is in conjunction with the PERLA/Global WACh Symposium: “Global Health for Women, Children and Adolescents: Making a Difference Across the Lifespan.”