Dr. Jacob Adetunji, a Nigeria-born American demographer, began his global health career nearly 30 years ago when he was selected as a Population Council Social Science Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.

The fellowship, awarded on the basis of academic excellence and prospective contribution to the population field, offered promising early career scholars an opportunity to advance their research and training at leading institutions around the world.

Dr. Adetunji remembers his fellowship at Harvard as providing him with “a highly stimulating intellectual environment… I worked with Prof. Allan Hill, who was the Secretary of IUSSP (International Union for the Scientific Study of Population) and was leading innovative works in Africa, and with other excellent demographers, including Drs. Monica Das Gupta and Michel Garenne. I made connections and acquired broader intellectual outlooks that have proved very useful professionally.”

After his fellowship, Dr. Adetunji worked as a research associate on the African Census Analysis Project at the University of Pennsylvania before becoming an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he taught demography and population health courses. Subsequently, he spent over 20 years at the USAID, first serving as a senior technical advisor and lead program manager for the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) project, and later as a senior demographer/statistician and deputy chief in the Policy, Evaluation and Communication Division of Population and Reproductive Health, proving technical leadership and support to field programs in population, voluntary family planning, and reproductive health.

Dr. Adtunji has published extensively and has served on numerous technical advisory panels, including the FP2020 Performance Monitoring and Evidence Working Group, the United Nations Statistics Division and Population Division, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. Today, Dr. Adetunji serves as the Deputy Director of Data, Family Planning at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, overseeing the design, management, and execution of the Foundation’s family planning program’s data initiative.

Learn more about our Fellows.