Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, MD, MPH
Vice President for Health Sciences, University of Liberia
Dr. Bernice T. Dahn is the Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Liberia. She served as the Minister of Health for the Republic of Liberia from 2015-2018. For almost nine years prior, Dr. Dahn served as the Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for the Republic of Liberia. In these roles, Dr. Dahn led the re-establishment of the Ministry of Health and the rebuilding of Liberia’s post-conflict health care delivery system. Internationally, Dr. Dahn has served as a Board Member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and of the World Bank’s Global Financing Facility.
In all fora, Dr. Dahn has been a resolute advocate for donor alignment to government-led plans and for mutual transparency and accountability in aid relationships. As CMO, she negotiated the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States’ first direct government-to-government funding mechanism, successfully instituting an innovative approach to bilateral development aid in Liberia. She also led a paradigm shift from NGO-controlled resources to government leadership in the health sector; built County Health Teams’ capacity for managing donor funds (contracting in and out health services by the MOH), giving the Government of Liberia more control of donor funds and improved ownership of its development agendas.
In 2013, Dr. Dahn spearheaded the establishment of postgraduate medical residency programs in general surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, and obstetrics & gynecology. During the early stages of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in 2014 Dr. Dahn coordinated the national response to the epidemic, including development of treatment protocols and infection prevention and control standards, trainings, resource mobilization, and partner coordination. Upon establishment of the Incident Management System, she focused on community-based initiatives and restoration of routine health services. Dr. Dahn also oversaw the development of Liberia’s Investment Plan for Building a Resilient Health System, including the National Health Workforce Program. She also launched a National Community Health Services Policy (2016), creating a new cadre of Community Health Assistants, and permanently transitioning Liberia’s community health system from a series of fragmented, under-performing community health volunteer programs to a nationally unified and high-quality Community Health Assistant program.
Having left the MOH in 2018, Dr. Dahn continues to serve at the forefront of Liberia’s advocacy for constructive aid practices. She became the Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Liberia in January 2019. Having taught medical students as a faculty member at her alma mater, A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, for thirteen years, Dr. Dahn is now focused on improving academic and administrative systems at the college, with a vision of establishing a world-class health sciences education system.