Tsion Firew is an emergency physician and assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Columbia University in New York and an advisor to the Ministry of Health for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In her role at the ministry, she supports and oversees several programs, including emergency care capacity building through training and research, emergency preparedness, and the response of Ethiopia’s Public Health Institute to mobilize resources with initiatives to assist in the attainment of Ethiopia’s Health Sector Transformation Plan. At the ministry, she established a women's leadership forum for all management and executive committee leaders. She created a platform for both men and women to engage in dialogues of tackling gender-based violence and implicit biases in the workplace. These dialogues have helped inform both men and women on how to build a gender-sensitive environment and how to foster women leadership within their institution.
Born and raised in Ethiopia, Firew received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Georgia. She received her medical education at New York Medical College and completed her residency in emergency medicine at New York University and Bellevue Hospital. During her fellowship, she received her masters in public health from Columba University in population and family health along with a certificate in humanitarian assistance. She has had the opportunity to respond in a humanitarian crisis in Haiti and recently in Mosul Iraq during the war against ISIS. Before joining the ministry, she worked on emergency medicine assessment and capacity building in Ghana, Ethiopia and worked as an intern at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva under the WHO’s emergency, trauma, and acute care program. Firew played a vital role in advocating for the proposal of the resolution on emergency care and co-authored the resolution with colleagues at the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and garnered support from member states to lead the adoption of the resolution at the World Health Assembly.