Neo M. Tapela, is an internal medicine physician and epidemiologist (Harvard Medical School '06, Harvard School of Public Health '10) interested in understanding the causes of chronic non communicable diseases (NCD) in sub Saharan Africa, and designing innovative evidence-based interventions to deliver treatment for these conditions in rural resource-limited settings. She is currently Senior Research Fellow in the Nuffield Department of Population Health at University of Oxford.
She has led several NIH-funded research projects, which have been informed by interdisciplinary practical experience in diverse settings. (including in Haiti, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa and Botswana). She has served as Head of the national non-communicable diseases (NCD) program in her home country Botswana. In this capacity she was the technical lead on NCDs in the development of the country’s 11th national development plan, and she spearheaded development of the first multisectoral strategy on prevention and control of NCDs 2018-2023. She also oversaw the development and endorsement of Botswana’s first national primary health care guidelines – evidence based guidelines that expand access to quality treatment for hypertension and diabetes among other conditions to individuals living in rural areas. As Director of NCD program in Rwanda for an international NGO, Partners In Health, Dr Tapela coordinated the establishment of Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, a unique public rural comprehensive oncology program now serving over 4,000 low-income patients and with over 30 peer-reviewed journal publications describing implementation experience and early outcomes.
Dr Tapela maintains appointment as Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA and as Research Associate, Botswana Harvard Partnership, Gaborone, Botswana. Her work as a global health researcher and activist has been recognized through her award of Aspen New Voice Fellowship, African Cancer Leadership Insitute awardee.