Sheila Dinotshe Tlou, PhD '90, RN, FAAN, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing alumna, is the 2014 recipient of the Princess Srinagarindra Award, one of Thailand’s most prestigious health care related awards. She was honored at a ceremony in Bangkok on October 22nd. Each year, the award is conferred upon an individual registered nurse or registered midwife, or group thereof, who has made significant contributions, through direct care, research, education or management, within the nursing or midwifery profession and/or for the development of the nursing or midwifery profession. This award was established in 2000 in honor of the birth centenary of H.R.H. the late Princess Srinagarindra Mahidol, the mother of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Princess Srinagarindra was herself a nurse and a long-time champion of public health efforts.
In 1990, Professor Tlou graduated with her PhD in Nursing Sciences and post-graduate certificates in Women’s Health and Gender Studies from the UIC College of Nursing but had already been leading the AIDS response in Africa since 1985. She founded the Botswana chapter of the Society of Women and AIDS in Africa, served as a Member of Parliament, and was Minister of Health of Botswana from 2004 to 2009. As Botswana’s Minister of Health, she led a comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support program, which is still used as a model today.
In recognition of her expertise, Dr. Tlou has been appointed to several prominent international positions, including as the United Nations Eminent Person for Women, Girls, and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, the Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and of the African Union Ministers of Health. She was a Professor of Nursing and the Director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Development in Primary Health Care for Anglophone Africa at the University of Botswana. Dr. Tlou provided leadership in the adoption of the SADC Malaria Eradication Program, the SADC HIV/AIDS Plan of Action, and the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. She also represented Eastern and Southern Africa on the Board of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She is currently the Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Dr. Tlou has authored many publications on gender and HIV and has received many national and international awards, including the International Red Cross Society's Florence Nightingale Medal, the Amsterdam Medical Centre's Anna Reynvaan Prize, the Botswana’s Presidential Order of Honour. the World YWCA's Woman Leading Change Award, and an honorary doctorate from Dillard University. She is a recipient of the UIC College of Nursing's Distinguished Nurse Alumnus/a Award.