Leah McManus Named 2018 Ward Cates Emerging Leader

Leah McManus. Photo: Kelley Bennett Photography

Leah McManus at the Triangle Global Health Consortium award celebration in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Kelley Bennett Photography

After a community-wide vote, the Triangle Global Health Consortium presented the Ward Cates Emerging Leader Award to Leah McManus during a ceremony in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, last month, in part due to her outstanding work during West Africa’s 2014 Ebola crisis.

McManus, a technical program manager at IntraHealth International, was the first IntraHealth employee deployed to Liberia during the outbreak. Embedded in the Ministry of Health during the height of the epidemic, she worked side-by-side with ministry officials to deploy mHero, a communications platform that now offers a direct line of communication between health officials and health workers in even the remotest communities in Liberia.

“Opening such channels of communications between health workers and health officials makes for stronger health systems, before, during, and beyond disease outbreaks and other emergencies,” says Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth. “We’re very proud of the work Leah and our mHero team are doing to ensure greater global health security for us all.”

Hear more from McManus: Are We Ready for the Next Outbreak Podcast: Part Three

There were three finalists for the award in 2018, which the Triangle Global Health Consortium offers every year based on the awardee’s record of leadership, innovation, and spirit of collaboration in global health. The Triangle Global Health Consortium presented the award to McManus on May 2.

“I believe the most critical elements of a sustainable global health intervention come from local partners, local voices, and local solutions,” McManus says. “During the outbreak in Liberia, I saw the Ministry of Health, partner organizations, donors, all sitting elbow to elbow—ten to a desk—exchanging data, discussing new protocols, identifying solutions. Most of all I saw the leadership of the Ministry of Health coming through and being respected by all. Seeing this, experiencing it firsthand, reinforced a lot about what leadership means to me.”