A native of Brazil, Dr. Carmen Barroso's early experience includes teaching reproductive health and rights as Hubert Humphrey Distinguished Professor at Macalester College and serving as a professor of research methods at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She also held the position of senior researcher with the Carlos Chagas Foundation, where she pioneered innovative evaluation methods and later created Brazil’s first and foremost women's studies center.
In 1991, Dr. Barroso became the first non-American woman to be appointed as director in a major U.S. foundation. She was the Director of the MacArthur Foundation’s Population & Reproductive Health program until 2003. Under her leadership, the program funded hundreds of local organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and helped bring the voices and experiences of women from the global south to international policy fora. In particular, Dr. Barroso has been recognized by the media and academics for the influential role she played in making the health and human rights central to development policy at the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.
Since 2003, Dr. Barroso has served as the Regional Director of International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR). Through its 40 member associations in the Americas and the Caribbean, IPPF/WHR provides almost 27 million services annually. As the director of one of the most dynamic regions of IPPF and as a member of IPPF global senior team, Dr. Barroso has been a leader in the design and implementation of the comprehensive accreditation system created by IPPF to ensure accountability among member associations, and in the creation of IPPF’s governance and management policies.
She has served on several boards and international commissions, including the Millennium Project Task Force on MDG 3, and the Brazilian Commission on Reproductive Health, a pioneer effort for engaging multiple stakeholders in accountability for women’s health policies. Dr. Barroso currently serves on the boards of the International AIDS Alliance and IBIS, and is Co-chair of PAHO’s Panel on Gender and Health, where she plays a vital role in leading the design and implementation of a participatory accountability mechanism for the Regional Program of Action on Gender and Health at the country and regional levels.
Dr. Barroso holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Social Psychology, where she studied under world-renowned evaluation scholar Robert L.Thorndike. She has served as a Visiting Scholar at the Population Department of Cornell University and received numerous academic and public service awards and honors, including Ford Foundation and Fulbright Scholarships, and most recently was named among the world’s 100 most influential leaders for maternal health by Women Deliver. She has published numerous articles in professional journals and popular media in Brazil and internationally, and has consulted for numerous international and intergovernmental agencies.