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Tolullah Oni

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Tolullah Oni
Oni speaks at the World Economic Forum in 2018
Alma materUniversity College London
Imperial College London
Known forInternational health
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cape Town
University of Cambridge

Tolullah "Tolu" Oni (born 1980) is a Nigerian urban epidemiologist at the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.[1] She is a NextEinstein Forum Fellow[2] and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.[3]

Early life and education


Oni was born in Lagos.[4] At the age of seven Oni watched a documentary about cardiac surgery and wanted to become a pediatric cardiac surgeon.[5][6] She attended boarding school.[7] She trained in medicine with international health at University College London, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in 2001.[7] She completed house jobs in the United Kingdom and Australia, and became interested in HIV.[5] She was made president of the Medical Students' Union.[7] Oni was a doctoral student at Imperial College London, where she started to study health outcomes.[8][9] She explored how social determinants impacted health conditions, and finished her PhD in 2012.[10][11] Oni was awarded the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Medical Student Elective Prize, and moved to South Africa.[7]

Research and career


Oni worked in South Africa, where she established an interdisciplinary program Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE) at the University of Cape Town in 2007.[12] RICHE works on urban health, identifying opportunities to implement public health policies in fast growing cities.[13] She worked as a registrar in the Western Cape Department of Health.[14] She became interested in interventions that can manage chronic infections and non-communicable diseases.[5][15] Oni was made a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town.[10] Here, she developed the University of Cape Town's first undergraduate degree in global health, which launched in 2014.[16] The course created by Oni is one of the first to teach global health from the perspective of the Global South.[5]

She moved to the University of Cambridge, where she joined the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit as a senior research fellow.[17][18] Here she is a member of the Global Diet and Activity Research Group and Network (GDAR) network, which works to prevent non-communicable diseases in low-income countries.[19]

Public engagement and policy


Oni has presented at the United Nations, the World Health Organization and World Economic Forum.[20][21][22] Onu is a board of Future Earth and the African Academy of Sciences platform for open research.[23] Oni is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, and was elected a Fellow of NextEinstein in 2015 and the Stellenbosch University Institute for Advanced Study in 2017.[10][24][25][26] She was elected one of the Co-Chairs of the Global Young Academy in 2018.[4] Oni serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Health and The Lancet's Planetary Health.[23][27] She has written for The Conversation.[28] Oni serves as a judge for the Nature Inspiring Science Award.[29]

Awards and honours

  • 2013 Elected to the South African Young Academy of Science[30]
  • 2014 Young Physicians Leadership Programme by the Inter-Academy Medical Panel[31][32]
  • 2019 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader[33]


  1. ^ "All Fellows | The AAS". aasciences.africa. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  2. ^ "Oni Tolullah | The AAS". www.aasciences.africa. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  3. ^ "Tolu Oni – Global Gathering 2020". gg2020.nef.org. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  4. ^ a b "Africa Cultivates Innovation to Boost Global Reach". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  5. ^ a b c d Watts, Geoff (2016-04-23). "Tolullah Oni: public health specialist with a global ambition". The Lancet. 387 (10029): 1712. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30267-7. ISSN 0140-6736. PMID 27116269. S2CID 40471022.
  6. ^ Group, British Medical Journal Publishing (2019-02-20). "Tolu Oni: Working on Africa's health". BMJ. 364: l653. doi:10.1136/bmj.l653. ISSN 0959-8138. PMID 30787003. S2CID 73476391.
  7. ^ a b c d UCL (2018-06-27). "Tollulah Oni". UCL Faculty of Population Health Sciences. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  8. ^ "UCT gave me the space to make a difference". www.news.uct.ac.za. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  9. ^ "Tolullah Oni: promoting science and research to develop Africa". www.news.uct.ac.za. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  10. ^ a b c "Tolu Oni – Next Einstein Forum". May 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  11. ^ Oni, Tolu; Youngblood, Elizabeth; Boulle, Andrew; McGrath, Nuala; Wilkinson, Robert J; Levitt, Naomi S (2015-01-17). "Patterns of HIV, TB, and non-communicable disease multi-morbidity in peri-urban South Africa- a cross sectional study". BMC Infectious Diseases. 15 (1): 20. doi:10.1186/s12879-015-0750-1. ISSN 1471-2334. PMC 4300166. PMID 25595711.
  12. ^ "Dr Tolullah Oni". MRC Epidemiology Unit. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  13. ^ "Tolullah Oni: promoting science and research to develop Africa". www.news.uct.ac.za. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  14. ^ "Department of Health and Wellness | Western Cape Government". www.westerncape.gov.za. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  15. ^ "Real-world illness requires medical multitasking". Nature. 557 (7703): 5–6. 2018-05-01. Bibcode:2018Natur.557Q...5.. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-05028-w. PMID 29717257. S2CID 256768263.
  16. ^ London, Leslie; Doyal, Lesley; Ajuwon, Ademola; Kaseje, Margaret; Adongo, Philip; Fonn, Sharon; Yudkin, John S.; Oni, Tolu (2019-03-01). "Global public health starts at home: upstream approaches to global health training". The Lancet Global Health. 7 (3): e301–e302. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30558-8. hdl:1983/5ed590b2-8316-4a5e-be9a-824044423273. ISSN 2214-109X. PMID 30784626.
  17. ^ "Dr Tolullah Oni". MRC Epidemiology Unit. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  18. ^ "Tolullah Oni". Cambridge Institute of Public Health. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  19. ^ "The Global Diet and Activity Research Group and Network (GDAR)". MRC Epidemiology Unit. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  20. ^ "High-level Political Forum .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform". sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  21. ^ "World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  22. ^ "WHO | Conference speakers". WHO. Archived from the original on November 5, 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  23. ^ a b "AAS Open Research". aasopenresearch.org. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  24. ^ Next Einstein Forum (2016-03-18), NEF Fellows Spotlight Session: Tolu Oni, retrieved 2019-06-26
  25. ^ "Oni Tolullah | The AAS". aasciences.ac.ke. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  26. ^ "Fellows 2017". Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  27. ^ "Journal of Urban Health - Springer". link.springer.com. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  28. ^ "Tolullah Oni". The Conversation. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  29. ^ "Judges | Nature Research Awards for Inspiring Science and Innovating Science". www.nature.com. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  30. ^ "South African Young Academy of Science | School of Public Health and Family Medicine". www.publichealth.uct.ac.za. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  31. ^ "TOLU ONI IS ONE OUT OF THE 127 YOUNG GLOBAL LEADERS FOR THE CLASS OF 2019". 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  32. ^ "Tolullah Oni: Young Nigerian with a global vision. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2022-04-23.
  33. ^ "Tolu Oni". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2019-06-26.