Charlotte Ellertson

Charlotte Ellertson (March 2, 1966 – March 21, 2004) was named one of 50 most influential people in women's health. She is a key reason women achieved “the regulatory, clinical, and policy changes that made these methods more widely available to women around the world”.[1][better source needed]


Early life and educationEdit

Charlotte Ellertson was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1966. At the age of 13, Ellertson moved to the United States with her family.[2] Growing up in South Africa, Ellertson was exposed to women's health issues at an early age. Seeing this and women's health issues in the United States prompted Ellertson to want to change women's health.[3]

Ellertson studied Biological Anthropology at Harvard University.[2] Then she attended Princeton University and received her MPA and PhD in Demography and Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School.[2]

Social workEdit

Ellertson became interested in women's health through her background of growing up in South Africa. She realized that many women around the world were unable to make their own decisions about their own health and bodies, so she decided to make a career out of this passion. During this time, no laws that protected women in making health-related decisions were present, and Ellertson took action in providing the opportunities for women to receive the proper health-care services and needs they deserve.[3] In 2002, she founded Ibis Reproductive Health Organization to change what women's health services were worldwide.

Charlotte Ellertson worked on the Population Council for seven years. She then worked as the Director of Reproductive Health for Latin America and the Caribbean in Mexico City for the final four years. Ellertson had many published articles, books, and reports and concentrated a lot on emergency contraception and medical abortion.[1] Ellertson was named one of 50 most influential women in health by the Huffington Post.[4]

Ibis Reproductive HealthEdit

Founded in 2002, Ibis Reproductive Health Organization was an international women's reproductive rights research and advocacy group.[5] The organization was based out of the basement of a Cambridge Church. It began as a team of 3 individuals, then grew to 20 people working at locations in Cambridge, San Francisco, and Johannesburg.[1] The nonprofit "focuses on increasing access to safe abortion, expanding contraceptive access and choices, and integrating HIV and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services."[6]


Ellertson died on March 21, 2004 from breast cancer.

Personal lifeEdit

Ellertson knew how to speak several languages, (including Afrikaans, English, and Spanish) played the viola, and was a talented cook among many other things.[2] Ellertson passed away at the age of 38 due to breast cancer.[7] She married Paull Erskine Hejinian, an immigration lawyer, on October 12, 1996.[8] She had two daughters named Marka and Amity born in 2000 and 2001, respectively. Ellertson's mother, Gabriele Ellertson, was from Minneapolis and taught drawing at Macalester College in St. Paul.[8] Her father was Rev. Caroll Ellertson who was a Lutheran minister and missionary in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.[8]

Charlotte Ellertson FundEdit

The Charlotte Ellertson Fund was created in memory of Ellertson after her passing by Ibis's Board of Directors. The fund is used "to provide a source of unrestricted funding that allows Ibis the flexibility to respond quickly to an urgent topic or to focus on a critical organization need with an eye toward Ibis's impact and sustainability." [9]


  1. ^ a b c "Our Founder, Charlotte Ellertson | Ibis Reproductive Health". Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  2. ^ a b c d "Charlotte E. Ellertson *93". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  3. ^ a b "Throwback Thursday – Charlotte Ellertson". Generation W.E.E.E. 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  4. ^ "Ibis founder Charlotte Ellertson named one of 50 most influential women in health | Ibis Reproductive Health". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  5. ^ "Honoring Charlotte Ellertson's contributions to women's health". Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  6. ^ "About Us | Ibis Reproductive Health". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  7. ^ "Our Founder, Charlotte Ellertson | Ibis Reproductive Health". Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  8. ^ a b c "Charlotte Ellertson And Paull Hejinian". The New York Times. 1996-10-13. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  9. ^ "Support Us | Ibis Reproductive Health". Retrieved 2017-12-04.