Spotlight on... Manuela Colombini

We're in the midst of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence campaign. But how are we working to tackle violence? And who are the researchers involved? We've been finding out, and first on our list is Manuela Colombini.

Manuela is an Assistant Professor in Health Systems and Policy as well as co-founder of the Gender Violence & Health Centre. We asked her to give us the low-down on her work, what the average day looks like, and how she unwinds outside of the office,
Side by side images of Manuela. On the left hand side she's sat down looking straight at the camera and smiling, on the right she is stood at a lectern presenting.

Where are you from?

I am from Milan, Italy.

What is your role at LSHTM and what does it involve?

I am an Assistant professor in Health Systems and Policy and Gender-Based Violence in the Department of Global Helath and Development.  I’m a member of the School’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and one of the co-founders of the Gender Violence and Health Centre (GVHC).

The focus of my work is to explore how health systems factors affect development and integration of health interventions for vulnerable women and girls. I also conduct evaluation research studies on health responses against violence against women and young girls (particularly within HIV, sexual and reproductive health and primary health care services).

How long have you worked here – and what did you do before?

I have been at the School for over 15 years. Before joining the School, I worked as a technical officer (on gender and sexual and reproductive health) at the World Health Organisation in Geneva.

What is a typical day for you?

I like to start my day walking my daughters to schools. Once in the office, I make myself a cup of tea and check my emails. I am not sure I have a typical day as the work varies a lot. It certainly involves meetings (and calls now) with colleagues and students, writing, reading and reviewing drafts.

Tell us about a project you are currently working on?

One of the projects I am currently working on is a NIHR Global Health Group on Health System Responses to Violence Against Women (HERA). As part of this, we work with partners in Brazil, Palestine, Nepal and Sri Lanka to understand how healthcare systems can integrate interventions for violence against women that link with community organisations and ultimately ensure better outcomes for women and children. In particular, I am working with local partners to explore the health systems readiness of sexual and reproductive health clinics to integrate responses to intimate partner violence into their services.

What three words would you use to describe your role?

Strategic, challenging and rewarding

What is your favourite thing about working here?

I like the School for its multicultural environment, and I particularly enjoy the interactions with globally recognised experts and dedicated and supportive colleagues.

“When I’m not working I am…”

Playing tennis and walking my new dog.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be an interpreter as I love learning languages and travel.

What is your favourite book?

So many, but one I like is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and also her Feminist Manifesto, which I read to my daughter.

What is your favourite food?

Obviously, being Italian, I would say pizza.

What is your favourite place?

My favourite place is the natural reserve of Churchhaven in South Africa, where we spent two amazing family holidays while living in South Africa.


Learn more about Manuela 

Lean more about the Gender Violence and Health Centre and learn about the latest research in their annual lecture series.

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