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IWL Consortium Initiative on WOMEN & HEALTH

The Institute for Women’s Leadership Consortium is pleased to coordinate the new IWL Consortium Initiative on Women & Health, launched in spring, 2013. This ambitious endeavor recognizes that women’s health around the world is shaped as much by social, economic, political and environmental forces as by biology. This collaborative initiative offers unprecedented expertise and Rutgers resources to analyze women’s health and the structural conditions that shape it at the local, national, and global levels.

Anita Ashok Datar Lecture on Women’s Global Heath

Inaugural Lecture

The Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) is establishing an annual lecture on women’s global health to celebrate Anita’s life and educate students, faculty, and the public about global health issues. The inaugural lecture will take place in the fall of 2017 and will serve as an exciting introduction to what we envision as an endowed annual lecture series.

The creation of a lecture in Anita’s name will be a fitting tribute to her life, to her passion for women’s health, and to the cause that guided her leadership. The Anita Ashok Datar Lecture will be an important opportunity for students to learn directly from outstanding leaders in public health whose research, activism, and on-the-ground work are making a difference for people with the greatest need.

We will work closely with a volunteer committee to identify potential speakers who are doing extraordinary work in women’s global health. Speakers may be selected for their groundbreaking research as well as their activism and leadership in health practice, education, and policy making. Our goal is to make this first lecture a worthy tribute to inspire students and new supporters.

The Institute for Women’s Leadership’s dedication to collaborative, interdisciplinary programs that focus on women’s lives and leadership makes IWL an ideal home for the proposed Anita Ashok Datar Lecture on Women’s Global Health. We are honored and delighted to work with Anita’s family and friends to help create this educational legacy in her name.

How to be Involved

Join and support this cause today with a generous gift. DONATE HERE.

If you wish to make a contribution by check, please make checks payable to Rutgers University Foundation and send to:

Lisa Hetfield, Director of Development
Institute for Women's Leadership
162 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Join the Advisory Committee to help raise money and shape the program. Contact Lisa Hetfield, Interim Director of the IWL at

About Anita Ashok Datar

Anita Ashok Datar was born on December 7, 1973, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the second child and only daughter of Sunanda and Ashok Datar, who emigrated from India to the U.S. in the 1960s. She grew up in New Jersey and attended Rutgers, where she participated in Rutgers Summer Study Abroad in Tours, France, to begin exploring the world. Anita graduated from Rutgers with a degree in Psychology in 1995.

She then made a choice that fundamentally shaped her life: she joined the Peace Corps Volunteers. Anita was stationed in Senegal for two years, where she educated women and men on reproductive health, family planning, and HIV prevention. She continued to develop and strengthen the values that would guide her professional and personal life in the years to come.

Anita returned to the U.S. full of purpose and resolve; she would dedicate her life to improving health and human rights for those most vulnerable. She attended the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and earned dual master’s degrees, in public health and public administration in 2002. She moved to Washington, D.C. and for more than a decade, cultivated expertise in health policy and program development in support of reproductive health, maternal child health, and HIV prevention and management in the developing world.

Anita went to Mali to help improve the region’s HIV/AIDS and reproductive health response. She was one of 21 people killed in a senseless act of violence in Bamako, Mali on November 20, 2015.

Throughout her life, Anita valued her family deeply and constantly gave attention to her parents and brother’s family without reserve. Most important to her was her son, Rohan. Her love for and devotion to her son was profound; the two were very close. Every decision she made included Rohan’s well-being at the forefront, and she was so proud of the boy he has become.

As seen in Rutgers Today:

In Sanskrit, “Anita” means full of grace and mercy. According to her friends and family, Anita Ashok Datar was a leader who embodied her name. So it’s a fitting tribute that the 1995 Rutgers graduate’s legacy will live on in an annual lecture series established by The Institute for Women’s Leadership that bears her name. The lectures will address a cause Datar crusaded tirelessly for – women’s global health – with the inaugural event slated for spring. Read More

As seen in the NY Daily News:

A year after her death in a Mali terror attack, the good work of Anita Datar goes on. Datar, 41, was among the 21 people killed Nov. 20, 2015 when an Al Qaeda-linked terror group attacked a Radisson Blu Hotel. The former Peace Corps volunteer and global health policy expert flew in just days before as part of a humanitarian mission. Read More