Meet Harvard’s first African female pediatrician Dr. Juliette Tuakli

In commemoration of Black History Month, we shine a light on Dr. Juliette Tuakli, Harvard Medical School’s first African female pediatrician.

President George W. Bush, Mrs. Laura Bush, Dr. Juliette Tuakli at an event for Mercy Ships on April 6, 2013, in Dallas, TX. Photo by Grant MillerDr Tuakli has led a long and fruitful career in pediatrics spanning three decades. The Pan-Africanist with a Nigerian father and Scottish mother started her medical studies at the University of Zambia through to the University of London and then the University of California in Los Angeles.

She spent the first 20 years of her career as a clinical professor at Harvard Medical School and as a clinical instructor at Boston Medical School between 1982 and 2001.

After establishing the Community Pediatric Department at the Children’s Hospital of Boston, Dr. Tuakli, who is passionate about the health and rights of women and children in Africa, relocated to Ghana as the Deputy Director and Community Care Advisor of the NGO Family Health International.

She helped develop and implement national HIV/AIDS programs in Africa using her expertise in healthcare, education, program development, and community outreach. At the end of her two-year program, she decided to stay and help children and women realize their health needs.

Dr. Juliette Tuakli founded CHILDAccra in 2006 to provide pediatric and public health services to the West African region. Based in Ghana, the family clinic is affiliated with health organizations and clinics in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Dr. Tuakli has worked with many organizations including the United Nations, African Union, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, World Health Organisation, and Mercy Ships among others.

She has won several awards including the African Union Award for Medical Excellence, Lifetime Achievement Award by the South Africa-based CEO Global, and Best Pediatric Practitioner of the Year award by the West African Clinical Alliance Awards (WACA).

With a wide range of research on child health and HIV/AIDS in her name, Dr. Juliette Tuakli is looking forward to retiring in a few years to focus on her favorite hobby: horticulture. She owns Juliette’s Garden, the first company in Ghana to export flowers.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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