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Friday, February 27, 2009

EngenderHealth Announces the Director of the Maternal Health Task Force

February 27, 2009, NEW YORK – EngenderHealth announced today that Ann K. Blanc, Ph.D., will serve as the Director of the Maternal Health Task Force, a new EngenderHealth project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Blanc is a demographer with a strong record and reputation in research, training, grant making, and strategic thinking focused on sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health.

“Dr. Ann Blanc is superbly qualified to lead the Maternal Health Task Force so that it becomes a vital resource and catalyst for addressing the key challenges to improving maternal health in countries where maternal mortality and morbidity remain unacceptably high,” said Ana Langer, M.D., President of EngenderHealth and Senior Advisor to the Maternal Health Task Force. “We look forward to Ann’s leadership in implementing the Maternal Health Task Force’s ambitious agenda and supporting developing country and global leaders who are dedicated to improving maternal health outcomes. Ann’s solid reputation and extensive experience addressing maternal health and other reproductive health issues through research, evaluation, program development, and strategic grant making both within developing countries and at the global level will be invaluable in advancing the Task Force’s agenda.”

Dr. Blanc comes to EngenderHealth after more than three years at The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she was a program officer in the Population and Reproductive Health Program, managing grants and developing and implementing long-term grant-making strategies focusing on maternal health. Prior to the Foundation, she was a Principal Investigator and Senior Evaluation Analyst for Macro International, Inc., on the USAID-funded MEASURE/Evaluation Project. There, she collaborated with developing country colleagues to design and implement household- and facilities-based surveys and conducted methodological research and statistical analyses to evaluate maternal and child health, family planning, and HIV and AIDS programs. Earlier at Macro International, Dr. Blanc served for more than a decade overseeing the implementation of demographic and health research in developing countries under the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program.

Dr. Blanc has served extensively as an international consultant in demographic and reproductive health research to numerous multinational, bilateral and nongovernmental organizations working internationally, including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Pan American Health Organization, USAID, EngenderHealth, the Population Council, and the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Blanc received her doctorate degree in sociology with specialization in demography from Princeton University. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, co-authored several book chapters, produced innumerable technical reports, and is a frequent presenter at professional meetings. Active in several professional associations, Dr. Blanc is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Population Association of America.

About the Maternal Health Task Force
The Maternal Health Task Force is a project newly established by EngenderHealth with a generous three-year, $11 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Task Force will serve as a broker of ideas for a wide range of approaches to improving maternal heath, one of the most neglected areas in global health. Maternal morbidity and mortality rates remain unacceptably high across the developing world. Recognizing that real progress will require consensus, better coordination, and increased global attention, the Task Force offers a structure and process for catalyzing existing maternal health initiatives, deepening the involvement of developing country experts, engaging new organizations from allied fields, and making information more accessible to broader audiences. The Task Force will promote dialogue, elevate attention, and facilitate global coordination of the research and evidence, programming and evaluation, and policy and advocacy needed to sustain progress toward improving the lives and health of women, families, and communities around the world.

About EngenderHealth
EngenderHealth is a leading international reproductive health organization working to improve the quality of health care in the world’s poorest communities. EngenderHealth empowers people to make informed choices about contraception, trains health providers to make motherhood safer, promotes gender equity, enhances the quality of HIV and AIDS services, and advocates for positive policy change. The nonprofit organization works in partnership with governments, institutions, communities, and health care professionals in 25 countries around the world. For more than 65 years, EngenderHealth has reached more than 100 million people to help them realize a better life. For more information, visit

Theresa Kim, EngenderHealth

Carey Meyers, EngenderHealth

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