Absera Melaku is a public health practitioner specializing in global health education and promotion, adolescent health and youth development, and community-based public health programming, implementation, and evaluation. She is the Program Manager for the University of Chicago Center for Global Health. Absera provides overall direction for the Center by managing its long-term strategy, developing and managing numerous education programs and initiatives, and overseeing the operational infrastructure. She develops interdisciplinary, collaborative relationships with non-University partners and University faculty, students, and staff to further the Center’s mission to broaden global health education, training, research, advocacy, and engagement. Absera reinforces the University of Chicago’s strengths in fields such as the humanities, life sciences, social sciences, medicine, public policy, and others, and uses this interdisciplinary focus to encourage and foster innovative approaches to various public health challenges.
Before coming to the Center, Absera served as Research and Grants Manager for the Institute for Policy Research Two-Generation Education Research Initiative at Northwestern University. In collaboration with investigators from Columbia and Harvard Universities, she contributed to multiple mixed-methods antipoverty studies examining the implementation and effectiveness of two-generation education interventions and the intersection of policy and practice for economically disadvantaged families and their children. Absera received her Master of Medical Anthropology and Master of Public Health from Case Western Reserve University. Absera is a 2019 Emerging Leader with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a 2018 Avodah Justice Fellow, volunteers with the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, and mentors refugee youth through the GirlForward program.
“As a public health practitioner, I often consider how poverty and ill-health are inextricably linked – how socioeconomic status is one of the most powerful predictors of disease. I am so honored and thrilled to serve Avodah, an organization whose very core is rooted in antipoverty action in service to the most vulnerable in our community, and to develop leaders and activists committed to equity and justice.”