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Helene-Mari Van Der Westhuizen

MBChB, DPhil, Dip HIV Man

Postdoctoral researcher

Dr Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen co-convenes global health teaching at Oxford University on the Translational Health Sciences Masters degree and supervises MSc and PhD students. She also holds a postdoctoral research position with the Centre for Global Health Research in the Nuffield Department of Medicine to conduct a realist review of participatory research methods. After training as a medical doctor in South Africa and working in the rural Eastern Cape, Helene-Mari completed her doctoral research at Oxford University focusing on TB prevention in rural, low-resource contexts. She was funded by a Rhodes scholarship.

She has experience in using participatory and qualitative research methods, as well as producing  different forms of evidence reviews. Her research on Tuberculosis and COVID-19 prevention have been relied on for national and international policy and she has led evidence syntheses for the World Health Organisation on infection control and a case study on TB diagnostics. 

She is co-founder and vice-chair of the Board of the award-winning Tuberculosis non-governmental organisation, TB Proof, which aims to improve TB prevention and care globally. In collaboration with TB Proof she is working on TB implementation projects based in South Africa. She also serves as a core group member of the End TB Transmission Initiative hosted by the Stop TB Partnership, an interdisciplinary global airborne infection control expert group.

In 2022 Helene-Mari received a Fellowship in Global Health with the Rhodes Trust and Global Health Security Consortium in Oxford, where she worked on pandemic preparedness policy and convened a global policy summit. In addition to her research and teaching, she currently works part-time as Junior Fellow in Acute Medicine in the NHS. Helene-Mari enjoys science communication and has presented her research on live television interviews and podcasts including with the BBC and South African news.

Dr Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen is a member of the realist review team for REAL2, aiming to systematically explore the literature and practice of participatory research to better understand the potential, and limits, of greater stakeholder involvement in research processes.