Elizabeth O’Connell

Elizabeth has more than 20 years’ experience working with global organizations, developing and implementing effective global health and development programs; supporting collective action approaches to program development, implementation and management; developing systems and processes for monitoring, evaluation, knowledge management and reporting of financial and technical deliverables; and translating strategies into implementation work plans. She advises clients on technical approaches, business development strategies and strategic partnerships.She has sector experience in women’s health, including reproductive and maternal, and prevention and treatment of cervical cancer; health systems strengthening and quality improvement; community-based HIV screening and treatment; agricultural livelihoods, nutrition and food security and climate resilience; WASH access in communities, schools and health care facilities; and gender equity and empowerment of women and girls. She was part of the leadership team that developed a standardized national curriculum for maternal health education and training in Ethiopia with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Federal Ministry of Health and the University of Michigan; MOH used the approach for other medical specialties. Her work on noncommunicable diseases includes editing the Wilson Center Maternal Health Initiative report The Unseen Side of Pregnancy: Non-Communicable Diseases and Maternal Health. She also conducted desk research, expert interviews and stakeholder consultations and wrote a joint ACOG and Abt Associates strategy to address cervical cancer among women in low resource countries, which included WHO and UICC guidelines.


Elizabeth has extensive experience building capacities of staff and leadership and coordinating program management and reporting across operational divisions; analyzing effectiveness of programs to meet established strategic objectives; and strengthening team structures to enhance effectiveness, cohesion and collaboration. She has served as principal advisor on strategic positioning of organizations with external stakeholders and has led high level partnerships among donors, implementing partners, national NGOs and civil society organizations, Ministries of Health, academic institutions and technical experts in sub-Saharan Africa, India and the US. She employs a keen understanding of the nuances of cross-cultural communication and decision-making styles to foster effective team communication and collaborative multi-partner consultations in a climate of trust, built through joint agenda setting, mutually agreed upon objectives and indicators of success, and open channels of communication across time zones. Elizabeth has lived in Ghana and has country experience including Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.

Elizabeth provides ongoing research, analysis and thought leadership on current trends, resources, best practices and partnerships in the global health landscape. She has created compelling communications materials across platforms and translate complex technical context to a variety of audiences.