Dr Flavia Senkubuge, specialist in Public Health Medicine, global public health advocate and has been elected President of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA). Her election is historic in so many ways as she is first black woman and only the third woman in the CMSA’s 64 years to hold the position. She is also the youngest president ever of the CMSA and the first specialist in public health medicine to hold the position.
The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) was founded in 1954 and is one of the most prestigious bodies of medicine in South Africa. It is the custodian of the quality of medical care in South Africa and is unique in the world in that it embraces 28 constituent Colleges representing all the disciplines of medicine and dentistry.
Dr Senkubuge grew up in the small town of Lady Free in the then Transkei and with the advent of democracy the family moved to the small town of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape where she completed her high school at the prestigious girls high school called Queenstown Girls High School (QGHS) in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. She was awarded the highest honour in the province by being selected as the 1996 Eastern Cape Matric of the year.
Dr Senkubuge then completed her medical and specialist public health medicine degree at the University of Pretoria and was awarded the Fellowship of Public Health Medicine (FCPHM) in 2009. She is currently completing her PHD in Public Health at the University of Pretoria where she was the chair of the health policy and management division and is the acting chair of the School of Health Systems and Public Health (SHSPH)
Dr Senkubuge follows a long line of distinguished leaders in medicine in our country least of all that her election means that the University of Pretoria has now for the first time in CMSA’s history three CMSA presidents in a row: Prof Gerhard Lindeque ,Prof Mike Sathekge and now Dr Flavia Senkubuge. The South African Clinician Scientists Society in congratulating Dr Senkubuge on her election called it :’ A new dawn for specialist training.’
Dr Senkubuge presented her national vision for the CMSA titled: CMSA Agenda 2022: Educate, Innovate, Impact. In this vision Dr Senkubuge calls for a dynamic CMSA that leverages and harness the collective excellence of its members and stakeholders. She plans to lead a CMSA that is responsive and creates value for its profession , health system and society. The CMSA agenda 2022 is rooted in CMSA’s foundation of excellence, located in CMSA’s ethos and aims to build for impact to society.
This pioneering young woman was recently featured in the May 2018 issue of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) Insider under the heading :”Exceptional Dr Senkubuge leads the way in Africa”. The feature is an attribution of the respect and recognition given to her work.
She achieved a high honour in her field by being the first black woman to be the president of the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) 2018, which is one of the largest policy conferences globally and was held for the first time ever, in its 75 year history, in Africa in March 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
She is well respected regionally and globally. She is the Vice‐President of the African Federation of Public Health Association (AFPHA), current secretary of the WHO/Afro region African Advisory Council on Research and Development (AACHRD. She is also the executive director of Public Health Africa an Africa‐led, globally supported, non‐profit organisation. She is the board chair of the Health Systems Trust (HST), a pioneering non‐profit organisation based in South Africa that has been at the fore front of the South African Health System for more than 20 years. She is also a member of the National Department of Health (NDOH) Tobacco Task team, tasked with advising the department on tobacco control policy.
In 2015 Dr Senkubuge was elected as a Young Physician Leader for 2015 by the prestigious global Inter Academy Medical Panel (IAMP) and was also a 2018 finalist for the Women of Stature award in the category woman in healthcare.
Dr Senkubuge is innovative and passionate about the work which we achieve by working together as one world. As such then she has been instrumental in many firsts around the region and globe particularly in her field and area of public health. At heart she is a philanthropist and is passionate about mentoring young people.