“We are thrilled Dr. Kumar has accepted this new and challenging role. There is no one better qualified to lead Ipas’s continued work for universal access to safe abortion,” says Pamela Barnes, who chairs the Ipas board and led a robust search process that included extensive outreach to donors, partner organizations and Ipas staff.
Since joining Ipas as Executive Vice President in 2002, Kumar’s portfolio has included oversight of Ipas’s fundraising and communications efforts, partnership development and the start-up of new programs such as technical innovation. She has also been involved in the creation of new Ipas country programs, including in Indonesia, Myanmar and Mozambique. In 2016, Kumar became Ipas’s first Chief Strategy and Development Officer.
Today she is recognized as a thought leader in the field of reproductive health and rights, speaking frequently at global forums and publishing in blogs and peer-reviewed journals. A 2009 article she co-authored established the definition and framework for the phenomenon of abortion stigma, creating a new area of focus for scholars and advocates. In recent months, Kumar has been among those sounding the alarm about the devastating impact of the expanded Global Gag Rule and has been speaking out on the critical need to ensure that abortion and contraceptive services are available to women in humanitarian settings such as the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“As we looked at the challenging environment for abortion rights around the world, we felt that Dr. Kumar’s leadership skills and strategic thinking are what’s needed to lead Ipas forward,” says Barnes. “She was the architect of our new strategic plan, which already is creating momentum in our work. But most of all, we are impressed by the fierce advocacy that shines through all of her work—and we look forward to more of it.”
“I have long been committed to Ipas’s mission and to our success in achieving it. I’m eager to take on this role and to continue to work with Ipas staff and partners around the world to improve access to and use of safe abortion and contraceptive care,” says Kumar.
Prior to joining Ipas, Kumar worked at the World Health Organization and later was a senior program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She has degrees in anthropology and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
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