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Mitchell Besser  

Founder & CEO of Agewell and m2m

A Harvard-trained obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr. Mitch Besser has dedicated his professional career to the public health needs of women. In 1999, Mitch joined the University of Cape Town to assist with the development of services for HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). When he discovered that many women who tested positive for HIV were too frightened to return to a clinic for treatment, Mitch founded mothers2mothers (m2m) to provide peer-to-peer education and support to help women access lifesaving PMTCT services. From administering the programme from the back of his car and a single site at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital, he has been part of m2m’s growth into a global leader in efforts to eliminate paediatric AIDS and create healthy families and communities.

Among the many awards that m2m and Mitch have received are the Global Health Council’s Best Practice Award, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Presidential Citizens Award of the United States Government.

In 2014, Mitch launched AgeWell Global, which adapts m2m’s peer-to-peer approach to employ older adults to improve the social well-being and physical health of other seniors. He also remains an active advisor to m2m’s Senior Management Team and serves on our South African and U.S. Boards.

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