Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Esther Tahrir, MPH

Senior Program Director

Esther Tahrir, MPH, is founder and director of Global Health Leaders and GOJoven International at the Public Health Institute. She also directs and advises multiple global youth engagement and adolescent health projects at PHI that benefit Latin America, Africa and Asia, including PHI’s Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GYCA). Since joining PHI in 2000, Tahrir helped establish the Mesoamerican Health Initiative and PHI's global health strategy.

Tahrir is a public health education specialist focused on strengthening public health leadership globally. She has more than 20 years of experience working in public and reproductive health, supporting leadership development and fellowship programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Her professional interests include providing training and development opportunities to emerging and senior-level leaders from developing countries working in public, reproductive, women's health and non-communicable disease prevention and care. She works to build cross-sectoral competencies in business and public health to enable health leaders to create innovative public private partnerships.

Tahrir received her BA with honors in community studies from the University of California (UC) at Santa Cruz. She received her master's degree in public health from UC Berkeley, where she was appointed to the Faculty Council, was student elect to the school’s Strategic Planning Committee and was awarded the Henrik L. Blum Award for Distinguished Social Action.


Building Organizational Capacity to Improve Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Central America

This project enhances the organizational capacity of community service organizations and government agencies to implement youth friendly, evidence-based adolescent sexual and reproductive health policies and programs. By leveraging existing programs in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, GOJoven mounts a two-day organizational capacity building workshop in Spanish for 15 organizations in each of the three countries.

Comprehensive Center of Human Sexuality for Adolescents and Youth

This project provides strategic plannig support and technical assistance to the Comprehensive Center of Human Sexuality for Adolescents and Youth (CHISPAS) in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The only center of its kind in the state, CHISPAS will offer information and training to youth on sexual and reproductive health, violence prevention, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, sexual and reproductive rights, gender equality, and sexual diversity.

Expanding Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Education in Quintana Roo, Mexico and Peten, Guatemala

PHI will continue to provide technical assistance and financial support to two NGOs: SEEDSSA in Quintana Roo, Mexico and Tan Uxil in Peten, Guatamala. Over 100 Ministry of Health service providers in eight clinics will be trained as referral agents to free and low-cost adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) services, reaching hundreds of youth and adolescents in at-risk rural and urban areas.

Global Health Leaders

Global Health Leaders runs the five-year Medtronic Philanthropy Associates Program – a Fellowship of the Public Health Institute (PHI) funded by Medtronic Philanthropy. The primary goal of the Medtronic Philanthropy Associates Program is to build local professional capacity among public health professionals to provide on-the-ground technical insight, alignment and representation for Medtronic Philanthropy’s chronic, acute and neglected disease programs in the field of Non-communicable disease and chronic diseases. A second goal is to create a pool of local public health and corporate professionals who have expanded competency and acumen in business and public health through training in corporate philanthropy, public private partnerships, public health and the interface between the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors as it relates to health and the NCD crisis in the developing world. Medtronic Philanthropy Associates are local leaders who will work as Technical Advisors to advance the work of Medtronic Philanthropy in India, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland and the United States.

GOJoven International: Building Youth-Led and Youth-Serving ASRH Organizations

The Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program (GOJoven) will increase the organizational capacity of four GOJoven Alumni Associations in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Quintana Roo, Mexico to advance adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) programs, policies and services at local national, regional and international levels.  The program will also partner with the GOJoven Alumni Associations to improve and document ASRH-related outcomes, through implementation and evaluation of a project in each country that is focused on ASRH education, capacity-building, services, and/or advocacy for policy change.

GOJoven International: Strengthening Youth-Led and Youth-Servicing ASRH Organizations in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Quintana Roo, Mexico

To continue building the effectiveness of the four GOJoven Alumuni Associations to contribute to decreasing the adolescent fertility rate among girls aged 15-19 in Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Quintana Roo, Mexico. Objectives will be to 1) Continue to increase the organizational capacity and sustainability of the four GOJoven Alumni Associations, and 2) Assist GOJoven Associations to improve and document adolescent sexual and reproductive (ASRH) health-related outcomes, through providing additional support to funded projects that focus on ASRH education, capacity-building, services, and/or advocacy for policy change, with a special emphasis on developing the next generation of young AYSRHR leaders in each country.


PHI will work with GOBelize in 2013 to strengthen the leadership of Belizean youth and their organizations to make services, policies and programs better to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health outcomes. 

Link Up: Achieving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for Young People Living With and Affected by HIV

GYCA partnered with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ATHENA Network, Marie Stopes International, Population Council, and local partners to achieve the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people living with and affected by HIV in 5 countries in Asia and Africa. GYCA's role in the project was managed by Julie Mellin, Project Manager.

In its role as a global policy partner in the consortium, GYCA: 1) participated in the Program Board and Steering Committee; 2) supported young people living with and affected by HIV to influence the post-MDG framework and the ICPD+20 processes to include a strong commitment to the SRHR of young people from marginalized groups; 3) provided technical support and capacity-building to consortium partners around meaningful youth engagement, global advocacy, and SRHR and HIV integration. The consortium project was funded by BUZA, the Dutch foreign ministry, and ran from 2013 to 2016. Please read more about the project at www.link-up.org.

Online Leadership Training for SAF Grantee Organizations

Online leadership training for Staying Alive Foundation (SAF) grantee organizations led by GYCA.

Strengthening the Enabling Environments to Support Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Mexico and Central America

This project will provide funds and technical assistance to increase the capacity of organizations in Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras to provide an enabling environment supportive of adolescent sexual and reproductive health as well as youth leadership.

Supporting Expansion of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Education in Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Peten, Guatemala

PHI continues to provide TA and financial support to two NGOs: SEEDSSA in Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Tan Uxil in Peten, Guatemala. The project will train over 100 Ministry of Health service providers in eight clnics in rural and urban economically disadvantaged areas to act as referral agents to access free and low-cost adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) services. These organizations improve and expand ASRH education and medical services for hundreds of youth. 

Supporting Incidejoven to improve the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents in Guatemala

This capacity-building project assists Incidejoven, an organization dedicated to improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents in Guatemala, to strengthen Incidejoven's leadership and management capacity to achieve its mission. Incidejoven's advocacy activities support and monitor implementation of the Universal Family Planning Law and follow up on the National Sexual Education Campaign.

Training and Development of Youth HIV Organizations through E-Courses

From 2008 to 2016, GYCA implemented group training through E-courses and provided resources to sustain continuous learning opportunities for youth organizations during their second, third and fourth years as Staying Alive Foundation (SAF) grantees. Through these activities GYCA helped SAF achieve its goal of helping its grantees become stronger advocates for HIV prevention.

Youth Advocacy for HIV Prevention Research

The Global Youth Coalition on AIDS (GYCA) will 1) write an advocacy briefing paper on youth and HIV vaccine research; 2) create a factsheet on youth and HIV vaccine research; 3) identify a youth 'champion'/representative for the 2012 International AIDS Conference to be held in July; 4) develop a long-term, transparent process for recruiting and engaging youth champions to advocate for HIV vaccine research; 5) develop and facilitate an E-course on youth, HIV and new prevention technology and 6) identify a facilitation consultant to help facilitate the E-course along with GYCA staff.

Capacity Building & Training

With diverse public health programs spanning the globe, PHI understands how strong leadership and organizational management can enhance the success...

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Leadership Development

Today's public health challenges are complex, rapidly evolving, and call for a new approach to leadership development—one that advances h...

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Public-Private Partnerships

The Public Health Institute is committed addressing emerging global and national public health issues, and tackling the most significant public hea...

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Reproductive & Sexual Health

Giving women control over their childbearing and reproductive health gives them control over their lives. Policies and programs that support girls ...

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