Osasuyi Dirisu is a Research Director at the Population Council. She conducts research on sexual and gender-based violence (GBV), social determinants of health behavior, social inequalities, and health systems. In her role, she oversees the design and implementation of research studies in Nigeria.
Dirisu co-leads the evaluation of Breakthrough ACTION’s Advocacy Core Group Model for Integrated Social Behavior Change (SBC) Programming in Nigeria and leads the UNDP Pillar 5 (data component) of the EU-Spotlight Initiative to eliminate inequality driven by gender norms. Dirisu led the design and implementation of a groundbreaking research study that explored barriers to uptake of clinical management of rape (CMR) services in conflict settings in Nigeria. She also led development of the National Gender Based Violence Dashboard, an innovative data management and visualization platform for the collation of validated, real-time GBV data in Nigeria.
Dirisu has implemented a wide range of interventions and research projects, working with hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations to improve access of women, children and vulnerable groups to health, inclusion, and social empowerment. Dirisu’s work has explored social determinants of health behavior in the context of poverty, norms, social inequalities and gendered issues to develop evidence for improving health outcomes. Dirisu oversees study design, development of protocols, conduct, data management, analysis, and reporting of research studies across all Council divisions, and she has managed office and field teams of 50 to 100 personnel working across Nigeria.
Among her accomplishments, Dirisu co-ordinated the implementation of the first HIV Self-Testing (HIVST) study in Nigeria; produced the project and policy brief; disseminated the findings in stakeholder meetings; developed research utilization key points; and contributed to the development of the National HIVST Guidelines for Nigeria. She also conceptualized the use of policy and process stakeholder dialogues to gather useful information for situating research findings in context and shaping policy recommendations. Dirisu has facilitated a wide range of policy and practice dialogues on human resource for health, SGBV, and female genital mutilation/cutting; and she developed in-house capacity-building for young researchers to develop research skills.
Before joining the Council, Dirisu was Program Director at Freedom Foundation, Nigeria where she provided strategic leadership for the implementation of an integrated substance use/HIV program. Prior to that role, she was the Head of Medical Services at the International Health Management Services, where she led an integrated health care delivery network for a public-private sector health insurance partnership to improve access and uptake of health services. She was a recipient of the 2015 SOUTER-ISAM Fellowship Award for Clinicians awarded by the International Society for Addiction Medicine for her research on the policy context of substance misuse among young people in Nigeria. Dirisu has published on issues related to substance misuse and HIV and AIDS, and she has given presentations at conferences and workshops around the world.
Dirisu holds an MB/BS degree from the University of Ibadan; a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Lagos and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Pan-Atlantic University. She obtained a PhD in Public Health from the University of Leeds as a Commonwealth Scholar in 2016.