Irini Albanti, DrPH, MPH, MA
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Dr. Irini Albanti is the Executive Director at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI). In this role, she develops strategies to execute HHI’s mission and amplify HHI’s global impact. She leads the strategic, operational, financial, and administrative management of HHI and oversees programs in humanitarian research and education. She is a purpose-driven leader committed to social impact and reducing health and social inequities globally by bridging public health, science, and business strategies. Since 2001, she has held leadership positions in the nonprofit, academic, and healthcare fields with a focus on strategy, operations, philanthropy, partnership engagement, and change management. Her personal motto is “feel like an NGO, run like a business” which reflects her business acumen and systematic approach to running an organization while inspired by its mission.
Between 2012-2020, Dr. Albanti was the inaugural Director of the Global Health Initiative at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and one of the top pediatric cancer programs in the United States. She set up the start-up functions, expanded international outreach, built alliances with foundations, governments, hospitals, and other stakeholders, and concurrently managed 25+ projects in global childhood cancer. In 2006, she joined Euromedica, the largest private healthcare network in Greece, and became the Deputy Director of a 150-bed general hospital leading clinical operations, finance, human resources, facilities, real estate, and marketing. In 2011, she launched the first International Patients Department at Euromedica and spearheaded the evacuation and hospitalization of war patients from Libya and delivery of health systems-strengthening consulting to hospitals after conflict. She was initially exposed to global health in 2004 when she served as the Administrator at the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) at NYU Langone Health and was involved in international health planning for HIV clinics in Kenya. She started her career at a nonprofit in New York City where she was responsible for fundraising and communications for programs in mental health, domestic violence, family support, and HIV.
In her capacity as Instructor in the Office of Education at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Albanti mentors students on developing and executing global health research projects. Her research interest is in capacity building in resource-limited settings, impact assessment, storytelling, and role of corporate philanthropy in impacting social change.
Dr. Albanti is Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt certified (2017), serves as Consulting Producer on the How I Live documentary, received the Women Leaders in Global Health Fellowship Award from Stanford University (2017), was an Emerging Leaders Program Fellow at UMass (2019), and was one of the 24 social purpose leaders selected for the 2019 American Express Leadership Academy’s Converge Academy. She regularly collaborates with WHO and PAHO on advocacy, policy, and implementation of childhood cancer initiatives.
Dr. Albanti holds a Doctor of Public Health (Boston University), Master of Public Health (Columbia University), Master of Arts in Communication (University of Miami), and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (American College of Thessaloniki).