SOUTH AFRICAWellcome Trust, a leading international non-governmental health research organization, has appointed former Stellenbosch University Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Prof. Jimmy Volmink, to lead its new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion division.

Prof. Jimmy Volmink will join the executive leadership team at Wellcome in October 2023 as Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer.

Prof. Jimmy joins Wellcome from Stellenbosch University where he was the Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences at the university and is now Emeritus Professor of Global Health.

Jimmy Volmink he is also the Director of the South African Cochrane Centre and SA Medical Research Council.

He has had a distinguished career in Medicine Research and teaching, more so as the Deputy Dean (Research) at Stellenbosch University, GlaxoWellcome Chair of Primary Health Care at the University of Cape Town, and Director of Research and Analysis at the Global Health Council in Washington DC.

As Wellcome’s first Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, Jimmy will lead our work to become an inclusive funder and will work in partnership with the whole executive leadership team to support Wellcome in becoming an inclusive employer.

“Inclusive research is stronger research. Considering a broader spectrum of lived experiences and insights helps mitigate bias thereby unleashing the full power of science to address pressing global health challenges,” said the Emeritus Professor.  

Jimmy began his career as a doctor in disadvantaged communities in South Africa and Eswatini, sparking his interest in public health.

After obtaining his BSc and MBChB degrees from the University of Cape Town and a DCH from the SA College of Medicine he worked as a family doctor and district surgeon in a township near Cape Town for 12 years.

He later obtained an MPH degree from Harvard University followed by a DPhil in Epidemiology from the University of Oxford.

He was elected to membership of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in 2000 and has served two consecutive terms as a Council member of that body.

He became the founding director of Cochrane South Africa, part of the international Cochrane network that works to support evidence-based health care.

At Stellenbosch University he led significant change, enhancing diversity and creating a department of global health.

Prof Volmink’s research has focused primarily on the evaluation of healthcare interventions for TB, HIV, and cardiovascular disease.

He has published well over 100 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, edited three books, and authored numerous book chapters.

He has extensive experience in teaching Evidence-based Medicine and in working with clinicians and policymakers to promote the use of research in decision-making.

He has been chairperson of the Western Cape Provincial Health Research Committee and is currently a member of the Provincial Health Council.

He has also served as Honorary President of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association of South Africa.

Prof Volmink is a current or past member of committees and advisory boards of many international organizations including the World Health Organization, UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, Cochrane Collaboration, Wellcome Trust, Vienna School of Clinical Research, Belgian Red Cross- Flanders and the International Clinical Epidemiology Network.

In addition, he has been a member of the Data & Safety Monitoring Boards of multi-national trials, including MAGPIE (magnesium for pre-eclampsia) and IMPI (Investigation of the Management of Pericarditis in Africa.

In 2005 he was Guest Editor of the British Medical Journal Special Issue on Africa.

In Professor Volmink’s words while receiving an honorary doctorate degree from the KU Leuven University, “My career has been defined by three Es: Education over ignorance. Evidence over dogma and myth. Equity over social injustice.”

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