Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

About Us

Chads. I am a practicing emergency physician, and I love my job. Each day is filled with new clinical challenges, fascinating people of all ages with stories to tell, and the chance to comfort and heal. I am deeply troubled, however, when I contrast the challenges that I face as a health care provider in the United States on a daily basis with those faced by the sick and their health officials in developing countries. Many decisions that I make are terribly expensive and often make little difference. On the contrary, interventions in developing countries cost pennies and make an enormous difference. If only it were that simple…

My experience in global health, while limited, has given me some experience in both clinical tropical medicine and public health. Perhaps more importantly, I have come to realize that, yes, in fact, the millions that are sick needlessly are suffering. That was an important realization for me (though it may be obvious to many) because needless suffering on the current scale necessitates action.

I have a diploma in clinical tropical medicine, which I earned in Peru. More recently, I have been on the Board of Advisers for a small NGO in Mozambique, Care for Life. I have been there three times and have worked on public health projects in AIDS and malaria. I am currently a Masters of Public Health (MPH) student at Johns Hopkins.

I am a believing, practicing Mormon. My upbringing as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has had a profound impact on the way that I view the world and other people.

I like to make cookies with my daughters, go on hikes in the mountains, read history (biographies) and philosophy (Kierkegaard and Buber), camp in the winter, play volleyball (beach doubles), eat at Thai and Indian restaurants with my wife, eat dairy products (Breyer’s Vanilla), take long bike rides, travel, sit outside when there are long shadows, and play hide and go seek.

Ben Crookston works as a research associate at the University of Utah in the Public Health Program. He holds degrees in public health and zoology from Brigham Young University, where he also works as part-time faculty instructing classes in research methods and international health. His research interests largely focus on child survival epidemiology in the developing world. He has carried out research in Ghana, Cambodia, India, and South Africa. Benjamin is presently completing coursework for a doctoral degree in public health at the University of Utah and anticipates graduating in the spring of 2009.

Kirk Dearden: For the past 17 years, Dr. Dearden has provided technical assistance to not-for-profit institutions to help them evaluate and improve upon the delivery of health services. For the first 12 years of his career, Dr. Dearden worked as senior research and evaluation specialist at the Academy for Educational Development, Johns Hopkins University, Save the Children, and the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh. More recently, he spent 5 years as a faculty member at Brigham Young University. Dr. Dearden continues to consult on applied research with the Academy for Educational Development, Save the Children/US, Freedom from Hunger, USAID and the World Health Organization among others. He has worked short- and long-term on development projects in Africa (Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mali), Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Georgia, India, Jordan, Moldova, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and West Bank/Gaza) and Latin America (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico and Nicaragua). Dr. Dearden’s research interests include the use of epidemiology and qualitative methods, program strategies designed to improve health and well-being, maternal and neo-natal health, malaria, acute respiratory infections, malnutrition in children less than 5 years of age and adolescent health.

Ryan and Kristen Lindsay – Ryan recently graduated from Brigham Young University getting his Masters in Public Health degree. He starts a PhD program in Global Health in San Diego in 2009. Concerning global health, his interests are primarily in infectious disease epidemiology and environmental health. Ryan has served an LDS mission in Recife, Brazil. He has also volunteered for six weeks in Maputo, Mozambique with the Humana – ADPP alliance. In Mozambique he worked at the community level on the nation’s HIV/AIDS prevention initiative. His graduate project researched risky health behaviors among street children in the Philippines. Ryan is married to Kristen, a fellow global health enthusiast. Kristen currently works in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. 

We can be contacted at unacceptableglobalhealth at gmail dot com

10 Responses to “About Us”

  1. […] About Me […]

  2. Darlyn said

    I find this blog fascinating and most timely. We at Globus Relief, as a non-profit, in-kind donor of medical supplies and equipment, nutritional supplies and hygiene products, I have served on a couple short international medical missions and found some of the conditions appalling from a basic healthcare and public health perspective.

    I guess I have more questions than answers, but look forward to communicating through this media with others looking for answers.

    Our experience over that last few years has brought us to some realizations.

    1. No one group, organization, or person can make the kind of difference you are exploring here. It is going to take a collaborative effort of organizations, foundations, individuals, governments to provide education, products, services and expertise.
    2. Globus has provided vitamins to several charities for distribution in Africa, Phillipines, North Korea and several Central and South American countries over the last few years. Reports (not official reports, but general information) back to us have shown that continued use has had a positive impact on the general health, particularly of expectant mothers and young children. One report we received addressed an improvement in the health of the elderly. This is not the only solution, of course, but it is easily taught and understood and easily monitored.
    3. Having the right decision makers involved is critical. We are implementing a vitamin distribution project in Ghana, spring, 2007. We are working through the government for support, distribution, reporting and analysis. We hope to have some hard facts through good record keeping, including baseline information on general health by public health nurses prior to the beginning of the project,6 months into the project and at the end of the first year. This is one country and only a fraction of those in need, but we hope to create a model that can be used over and over again. Once the distribution system is in place – other programs, education, and distribution can be made.
    4. Many third world countries have frequent changes in government and government officials, making continual communication and documentation of programs essential.
    5. Clean water and nutrition and/or nutritional supplements are prerequisite to any long term increase in health. Public Health information dissemination and education is another early intervention tool.

    Some of you who read this blog will say, of course these things are important – we all know it, why bother to write it? Because sometimes the obvious gets overlooked. I hope to see some responses soon.

    Again, Chad, thank you for creating this platform for interaction. As you said up front, some of us just need to get it out, blow some steam.

  3. chads said

    Thanks for your comments, Darlyn. I agree with many of your points: the need for collaboration, and the importance of long-term planning. I especially agree with your comment about documentation; monitoring and evaluating is crucial. I look forward to your input and look forward to learning more about Globus Relief.

    Regarding multivitamins: I know that there is some good data supporting vitamin A supplementation. I will post on micronutrients in the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing about what you and your group have found.

  4. danithew said

    There aren’t a lot of physicians in the Mormon blogging community. Glad to see someone show up.

  5. […] About Us […]

  6. Vicki said

    This is an interesting site and my first experience at blogging. I am a practicing international health professional, also LDS, working in diarrhea prevention and treatment with experience in micronutrient and other child health programs. I manage programs in 10 countries and I am convinced that we are making a difference, one child at a time, one mother at a time.
    To respond to Darlyn, micronutrients are vital and we as international health community have had proven, measured success identifying the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation, food fortification, salt and oil iodization, iron supplementation programs and figuring out how to implement effective programs to delivery these micronutrients in developing countries. In fact, Ghana was one of our stellar performers–reaching 95-100% of all children under five with the semi-annual distribution of VitA to children under five. I encourage you to visit mostproject.org for documented evidence on the success of these programs. We’ve targeted pregnant women with iron/folate supplements, also in Ghana, among other countries. The current USG-supported micronutrient program is A2Z, implemented by AED.
    Hope this is helpful info.

  7. chads said

    Thanks for stopping by, Vicki. Sounds like your experience is vast. We hope you’ll stop by more and would welcome occasional posts (as we’ve discussed by email).

  8. […] About Us […]

  9. Emily Mitchell said

    Are you planning on having a 2010 conference? – went to 2008 and got lots of great ideas and information. Interested in finding ways to improve health of Malian people – volunteer for the Ouelessebougou Alliance.
    Emily Mitchell

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