Jane T. Bertrand, PhD (sociology), MBA, is the Neal A. and Mary Vanselow Professor in the Department of Global Health Management and Policy at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She holds a BA in French Studies from Brown University (1971), a PhD in Sociology from The University of Chicago (1976), and an MBA from Tulane University (2001).
Jane’s research career showcases one of the central strengths of the PAA: the application of rigorous scientific approaches to the central challenges facing population health and well-being. Spanning four decades, Jane’s career has focused on multiple aspects of international family planning and reproductive health, including program design and evaluation, field-level service delivery, operations research, behavior change communication, and advocacy. She began her work in Latin America, and later expanded to sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire).
In both contexts her research has made an indelible mark on the field of family planning and reproductive health, and has advanced the well-being of women and men by providing a better understanding of how to increase access and quality of these services.
In addition to research and program expertise, Jane is also a visionary and effective administrator. Jane was a central figure in the establishment and early leadership of International Health and Development at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, which has trained hundreds of professionals who work to improve public health in resource-constrained countries around the world. Her passion for effective messaging for population and health programs drew her to Johns Hopkins University for eight years, where she directed the Center for Communications Programs. Her interests in management and policy helped Tulane to eventually recruit her back, where she recently completed seven years as Chair of the Department of Global Health Management and Policy.
Jane is also an exceptional mentor, having guided the career of many successful professionals. A very understated star of our field, Jane is always lightning-fast to promote her colleagues and students while remaining steadfastly modest about her own contributions. During the course of her career Jane has served as a leader and a mentor to numerous students and researchers from North America, Latin America, and Africa. Many who worked with Jane as research assistants were given the opportunity to apply the valuable skills they learned to a wide range of projects and then went on to leverage those formative experiences as they began impressive careers post-graduation.
With regard to scholarship, even a cursory look at a citation index like Web of Science gives one a sense of Jane’s distinguished record of scholarly publication. She has published extensively in International Family Planning Perspectives (now International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health), Studies in Family Planning, Health Policy and Planning, PLOS One, and African Journal of Reproductive Health, among other venues. A critical review she led on the state of the art of mass communication programs on HIV risk behavior has been cited over 100 times. In our opinion, Jane’s greatest contribution to the field has been to use research for improving program interventions in the developing world. More than three decades ago, Jane had already conducted survey and qualitative studies to guide behavior change program interventions in family planning. In the 1980s, her work in operations research aimed to improve the effectiveness of family planning programs evolved into a major career focus on monitoring and evaluation. Jane was awarded the Marjorie C. Horn Operations Research Award by the USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health in 2007 in recognition of her contributions in this area.
Jane has also made significant contributions to the field of population studies through extensive professional service. Jane served on the Governing Board of the National Council for International Health (now called the Global Health Council), and as a member of technical advisory groups for various projects in family planning and reproductive health. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Ipas from 2002 to 2006. Currently, Jane continues to contribute her expertise to technical advisory groups at PATH and PSI, and serves as a member of the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Jane’s values, determination, and skill set are extraordinarily well-suited to address some of the most dire and complex problems facing some of the most vulnerable sub-populations within the poorest countries in the world. We cherish this opportunity to honor her as a mentor, friend, and leader in our field.
Mark VanLandingham, Katherine Andrinopoulos, Mai Do, and Philip Anglewicz