Tolu Oni is a Public Health Physician Scientist and Urban Epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge, and an Honorary Associate Professor at the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town.
She is Founder & Principal of UrbanBetter | Oni et al (https://urbanbetter.science/), an Africa-led global practice and movement to accelerate solutions that improve health in Africa’s cities by increasing the supply of health from place; and by creating a platform to increase youth-led demand for healthy places. Through our urban health practice and learning collaborative, we partner with diverse actors in Africa and globally to harness urban development for population health.
Born in Lagos, she completed her medical training (and a BSc in International Health) at University College London, postgraduate medical training in the UK (Member of the Royal College of Physicians) and Australia, a Masters degree in Public Health (Epidemiology) at the University of Cape Town, and a research doctorate in Clinical Epidemiology at Imperial College London. She completed Public Health Medical Specialty training in South Africa and is a Fellow of the College of Public Health Medicine of South Africa. She spent 11 years conducting research in South Africa, where she was an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town. There, she established a Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE), conducting transdisciplinary urban health research focused on generating evidence to support development and implementation of healthy public policies in rapidly growing cities, with a focus on Africa. Research activities include Systems for Health projects: investigating how urban systems (e.g. housing, food) can be harnessed for health; and Health Systems projects: integrated heath systems responses to changing patterns of disease and multimorbidity in the context of urbanisation.
She has published her work in high-impact journals, and has given presentations at international academic (urban health, HIV, TB) and non-academic meetings including the United Nations High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, New York; and the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, Davos 2018. She serves on several advisory boards including Future Earth and the African Academy of Science Open Research Platform; and is an editorial board member of Lancet Planetary Health, Cities and Health, and the Journal of Urban Health.
Profiled in the Lancet journal in 2016, Science magazine in 2018, and the British Medical Journal in 2019, she is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, a 2015 Next Einstein Forum Fellow, a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, and 2017-2019 co-Chair of the Global Young Academy. In 2019, she was selected as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.