Heather Benjamin is a program officer for the Open Society Public Health Program, where she focuses on global health and human rights financing and harmful influences on health-related policy making. In particular, her work exposes and challenges the ways donor ideologies are harming sexual health and reproductive rights, and conceptualizes rights-based health responses for marginalized and criminalized communities. She currently serves on the international steering committee of the Red Umbrella Fund, which supports sex worker rights globally, and she previously served as a member of the board constituency of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
Prior to joining Open Society, Benjamin served as the program director for Close to Home, a grassroots organization dedicated to preventing and reducing the impact of gender-based violence through community mobilization and youth leadership development. As a consultant, she has provided technical assistance and training to national and international NGOs on implementing community-led approaches to intersectional social change work, youth leadership development, and grant-making and advocacy strategy development. Benjamin has also worked in direct service as a gender-based violence counselor in shelter settings.
A social worker by training, Benjamin holds an MA in social policy from Columbia University School of Social Work.