Clara Menendez, a medical graduate from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, is a registered specialist in Family Medicine and in Community Health and Preventive Medicine. She holds a PhD from the University of Barcelona and a DTM&H following studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has worked in India, Latin America and Papua New Guinea with a strong focus in sub-Saharan Africa, working in The Gambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. She was a key member of the founding team of the Manhica Health Research Center in Mozambique.
Professor Menendez has devoted most of her career to describing key determinants of maternal newborn and reproductive health problems and to designing and testing new interventions. She has made major contributions to understanding the physiopathology and parasite biology of malaria during pregnancy and its clinical consequences for both the mother and the newborn, as well as evaluating new intervention strategies for its prevention. She has also made significant contributions to the understanding of anemia, the role of iron deficiency and the effect of iron supplementation on infection. Over the years, she has expanded her scope of work to include other infectious diseases that particularly affect women of child-bearing age, including HIV and HPV infection. Another major area of focus for her, that builds on more than 15 years of work, relates to the description of causes of maternal deaths based on full autopsies and the current adaptation and validation of new approaches based on minimally invasive autopsies.
Professor Menendez has published more than 200 papers and directed more than 14 PhD theses of European and African students. She is a lecturer at the Master of Global Health at the University of Barcelona, the Master of Public Health at the University Pompeu Fabra and at the Diploma of International Tropical Pediatrics at the Instituto de Salud Carlos III. She is also a consultant for the World Health Organization on malaria control in children and pregnant women and the recipient of several national and international awards, including the Rudolf Geigy Prize.