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FoodForward SA welcomes Prof Liesl Zühlke as board director

Professor Zühlke is the Vice-President of the South African Medical Research Council (Extramural Research and Internal portfolio). She is also a paediatric cardiologist at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and director of the Children’s Heart Disease Research Unit. In 2018 she was the recipient of the MRC/DFID African Research Leader Award, a finalist in the 22nd National Science and Technology Forum-South32 Awards for the category: TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher and is designated one of the top three international scholars in RHD research. She was the 2020 recipient of the NRF award for public engagement with research. Liesl also holds an MPH, PhD (bothUCT) and an MSc from LSE.

Prof Zühlke is a past president of the SA Heart Association, past-president of the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa, and outgoing chair and co-chair of the PASCAR PANPACH (Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology) and Rheumatic Heart Disease Task Forces respectively. Internationally she serves as President of Reach (Rheumatic Heart Disease, Evidence, Advocacy, Communication and Hope), is a board member of the World Heart Federation, a medical advisory committee member of Children’s Heart Link, an international advisory committee member of Global ARCH as well as an executive member of SAVAC, the global Strep A vaccine consortium.

Liesl is passionate about the prioritisation of women and children in the Global health agenda. Her greatest joy in life is her family – plastic surgeon husband Alexander and sons Gabriel and Eli, and the time spent together in the outdoors, hiking or travelling. “It is an honour to join the board of FFSA. It is an opportunity to be part of an organisation that improves food security, creates dignified and stable employment and empowers communities to improve social justice. I hope to contribute in terms of my paediatric background to ensure that the food shared builds strong, healthy and resilient communities to face the health and social challenges that lay ahead.”

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