Professor Glenda Gray
Professor Glenda Gray is a global leader in the scientific and research landscape. A long-time activist and first female President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council(SAMRC), whose mandate is to support the National Department of Health on the promise of a long and healthy life for all South Africans. Prof. Gray has been a strong voice for health activism and engagement with health institutions and the Government, a trailblazer who has lived through our nation’s “citizenship projects” for citizens as individuals and groups to exercise voice concerning health issues. Prof. Gray, alongside leaders such as Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba (who led an investigation into the Life Healthcare Esidimeni Scandal). She challenged the South African Government during South Africa’s AIDS denialist days. This period in our history was a significant health citizenship project, which saw her bearing witness to the death of mothers and babies as a result of HIV/AIDS in the early 90s. Prof. Gray sees humanitarian issues as tied to health issues as they carry threats to lives and populations’ wellbeing. A paediatrician by profession, our children’s health, and lives is something she has dedicated her life to improve. Today, Glenda finds herself at the helm of the SAMRC when the effects of COVID-19 have brought the world to a grinding halt. She is the Chair of the Research Committee of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 (her recent advisories focused on the effects of COVID-19 on the Education System). Glenda advises the Portfolio Committee on Health on the impact of alcohol on the pandemic’s health system. She works closely with former SANAC CEO and current Director-General of Health, Dr. Sandile Buthelezi reporting to Parliament.