Sanni Yaya

Professor Yaya is career academic and accomplished researcher. He is Full Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa and holds the Senghor Research Chair in Health and Development. Prior to assuming the position of Vice-President International and Francophonie, he was Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford. He has also held visiting appointments at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and New York University.

Holder Senghor Research Chair in Health and Development

Holder Senghor Research Chair in Health and Development

Dr. Yaya’s service to the University of Ottawa is significant and extensive. He has a rich and varied experience that spans many aspects of university life. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, he has held positions responsible for student affairs and coordinating academic programs, and has extensive experience elaborating partnerships in the community both at home and abroad.

He first arrived at the University of Ottawa as an Assistant Professor, after holding a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University. Gradually rising through the ranks, Professor Yaya has assumed leadership roles that have helped strengthen our institution. He became Assistant Director and Chair of the Undergraduate programs within the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences and served as Acting Director, Associate Dean of the same School. He later joined the Faculty of Social Sciences in the context of the implementation of the health-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) and was appointed as Director and Associate Dean of its School of International Development and Global Studies. Professor Yaya has also chaired the President’s Committee that produced the University of Ottawa’s Internationalization Strategy and is currently the co-chair of the joint APUO-uOttawa committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

His leadership has been shaped by important priorities: fostering global citizenship and training future leaders so they can develop an awareness of the world as a whole, supporting cutting-edge research and innovation so to address the most pressing and complex societal challenges. Dr. Yaya’s is known as a bridge builder and his work is esteemed by his academic and industry colleagues. He is a distinguished health economist and global health expert known for his influential studies of maternal and child health around the world. His path-breaking work and scholarship has been noted for its careful integration of theory and practice, its attention to important social concerns, and its examination of systems of privilege and discrimination. His research is widely cited and has been disseminated in leading academic journals such as Nature Medicine and The Lancet. He has authored, co-authored and edited 22 books, 50 book chapters and over 170 peer-reviewed papers.

Professor Yaya has been involved with several journals over the last decade. He is co-Editor-in-Chief of Reproductive Health, Associate Editor, Health Economics with BMJ Global Health, and Associate Editor with Globalization and Health to name a few. He is also the Director of the Series on Health and Society at the University of Ottawa Press. His awards and recognitions include the University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Research, the Faculty of Social Science Excellence in Research Award, the Socrate Excellence in Teaching Award from the Université Laval and was recently appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).


Sanni Yaya holds degrees in Sociology and Anthropology, Management and received his PhD in Economics and Public Policy from the joint doctoral program that brings together the four leading Montreal universities (HEC-Montreal, Concordia, UQAM, and McGill).