global experts who partner with
government to improve the health
and well-being of their people.
Who We Are
Stories of Impact
Partnership with stakeholders in the areas we work is a key organizational value. We are researchers conducting groundbreaking research to shorten tuberculosis treatment but we are also tobacco's victims raising their voices for new policies in Indonesia. We are the first generation of lung health specialists in Ethiopia. We are a physician's assistant in Tanzania learning to give life-saving cesareans. We are advocates who believe that a healthier future is attainable if we apply the tools and resources at hand.
A key organizational value is partnering with stakeholders and helping to give them a voice. Here, some of them share their stories: researchers conducting groundbreaking research to shorten tuberculosis treatment; tobacco victims raising their voices for new tobacco control policies in Indonesia; volunteers helping to train the first generation of public-sector lung health specialists in Ethiopia; a physician's assistant in Tanzania learning to give life-saving caesareans.
Tobacco took his voice, but his call to action remains powerful
When Manat Hiras Panjaitan went fishing as a teenager in his native Sumatra, he discovered that when he smoked, the mosquitos stayed away. And so began a habit that lasted well over four decades – almost until the day he was wheeled into surgery to treat stage 4 cancer of his larynx. Once a bass singer at church, the disease stole his passion for the choir, created a hole in his throat and reduced his voice to something that sounds harsh and mechanical.
Now active in the Indonesian Victims Alliance, Hiras tells his story as part of a Vital Strategies-guided media campaign, which first aired in Indonesia in October 2014. The ads appeared across the country on national television stations and at movie theatre screenings.
Helping Ethiopian Doctors Connect the Dots
When Dr. Joseph Huang helps train Ethiopian physicians to treat lung disease, he draws not only on his specialized training as a pulmonologist, but also on his skills as a classically trained pianist.
Huang on music: “It is not so much the notes you know, but how much you can bring the music to life.” So, too, with medicine: “You shouldn’t teach knowledge, you should teach performance.”
As a volunteer at our Pulmonary Medicine Fellowship Program, Huang teaches complex medical skills, but just as important, he gives students a way to approach problems. “Ultimately, we give them a framework and an approach,” Huang says. “It is really about connecting the dots.”
The learning goes in both directions, emphasizes Huang, who is a clinical instructor at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. “We learn how doctors in Ethiopia deal with situations in a very under-resourced setting. It is really a reciprocal relationship.”
Learn more about our East Africa Training Initiative.