It is difficult to overstate Dr. Amy Ong Tsui’s impact on the field of family planning. For decades, she has been leading with intellectual curiosity, scientific rigor, and long-term strategic vision. All the while, she has elevated others, generously offering mentorship, creating and sharing opportunities, and providing steadfast support.
Dr. Amy Ong Tsui is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and a Senior Scholar in the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Amy received her B.A. and M.A. in sociology at the University of Hawaii. She then moved to the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Chicago, where she wrote her dissertation on marriage cohort differentials in US childbearing patterns, completed in 1977, under the supervision of Dr. Donald Bogue. After a stint at the University of Chicago, Amy joined the University of North Carolina in 1982, where she stayed until 2002, thereafter joining Johns Hopkins University.
In 2002 Amy succeed founding director, Dr. Laurie Schwab Zabin, as the Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Among her many accomplishments in this position was to establish and strengthen the expertise in reproductive health at schools of public health in several countries in Africa and Asia. Amy also conceptualized and launched the biannual International Conference on Family Planning, which will hold its sixth scientific meeting in Thailand in 2022.
Amy’s scientific contributions are numerous and significant. She has published more than 120 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, many of which are seminal contributions to research on fertility, family planning, and reproductive health. Her research was closely tied to policy and programs; for this, she received the Robert J. Lapham Award from the Population Association of America in 1999, which recognizes a person who contributed to the population profession through the application of demographic knowledge to policy issues.
Leading the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute at Johns Hopkins was one of numerous leadership positions held by Amy. She was also the Director of the Carolina Population Center from 1997 to 2002, the President of the Population Association of America in 2017, and served on boards and executive committees of prominent population-focused organizations such as the Guttmacher Institute, Population Council, Population Reference Bureau, and Ipas.
Amy has also been an exceptional and devoted mentor to numerous students and faculty, many of whom have gone on to hold leadership positions throughout the world. Her dedication to mentorship was formally recognized through the Johns Hopkins University Dean’s Award for Distinction in Faculty Mentoring, which she received in 2019.