Skip Navigation

A Century of Saving Lives

Bloomberg Hopkins Emerging Leader Award Winner

Tolbert Nyenswah Tolbert Nyenswah LLB, MPH ’12

Deputy Minister of Health for Disease Surveillance
and Epidemic Control, Liberia

 

Tolbert Nyenswah has been named winner of the Bloomberg Hopkins Emerging Leader Award. In honor of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Centennial this year, the $100,000 cash award was established by Bloomberg Philanthropies to recognize a Bloomberg School student or alumni with the potential to impact public health on a large scale for years to come.

Recognized as a leader in Liberia’s successful response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Tolbert has made an enormous impact on public health in disease control programming in West Africa. A lawyer by training, Tolbert took on his first public health leadership role with the National Malaria Control Program in Liberia, a program that helped to reduce malaria prevalence from 66% in 2005 to 28% in 2011. Inspired by this success, Tolbert pursued formal training in public health, receiving his Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2012. Shortly after returning to his native Liberia, he became the Assistant Minister of Health and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Prevention in 2012, leading the planning and organization of all the national disease control programs. Throughout his career Tolbert has consistently demonstrated analytical excellence and strong leadership, notably through effective communication and skilled team building. In 2015, Tolbert was confirmed as Liberia’s first Deputy Minister of Health for Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Control. The position recognizes his role in bringing an end to the worst Ebola epidemic ever known and his leadership of the incident management system that quickly detected and contained the outbreak.

Throughout his career Tolbert has consistently demonstrated analytical excellence and strong leadership, notably through effective communication and skilled team building. In 2015, Tolbert was confirmed as Liberia’s first Deputy Minister of Health for Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Control. The position recognizes his role in bringing an end to the worst Ebola epidemic ever known and his leadership of the incident management system that quickly detected and contained the outbreak.

Tolbert’s leadership has saved thousands of lives in Liberia and he now wants to take the lessons learned from combatting the Ebola epidemic to build sustainable public health systems in Liberia and West Africa. His vision is to create the National Public Health Institute of Liberia as a center of excellence to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats in Liberia and West Africa.

For more on Tolbert, see Global Health Now's August 2014 interview and January 2015 Q&A.