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Dean Jay Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, recognizes Michael D. Davis, PhD, for embodying the IU School of Medicine core values.

IU's Michael Davis embodies spirit of cooperation

Michael Davis with Cooperation badge

Dear Colleagues,

Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of facing a challenge with a united front.

At IU School of Medicine, we are united by our core values of EXCELLENCE, RESPECT, INTEGRITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION, AND COOPERATION, which have been invaluable to us in navigating challenging times. During COVID-19, many have looked to the health experts here at IU School of Medicine for help—and that call has been answered by countless colleagues.

One of those colleagues is Michael D. Davis, PhD, RRT, whose work with the Republic of Liberia embodies the core value of COOPERATION.

Dr. Davis, an assistant research professor of pediatrics at IU School of Medicine, was playing disc golf one afternoon in early June 2021, when he received a phone call from Liberia’s Minister of Health. The West African nation was in the throes of a COVID-19 surge, and they were calling on Dr. Davis to help lead a response.

In less than a week, he was flying back to a country where, through the years, he has helped build a respiratory care infrastructure in a health system left ravaged by civil war. In 2012, when Dr. Davis helped to found the Liberia Respiratory Care Institute, there was one respiratory therapist in the entire nation. To date, the institute has trained 28 new respiratory therapists, and the program has inspired a similar effort in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Because of that dedication to cooperation, Dr. Davis was a trusted resource when his expertise was needed the most. He landed in Liberia as the Delta variant was sweeping the nation and quickly got to work—training COVID unit workers, acquiring resources, and securing funding.


For his efforts, he was awarded the 2021 Toshihiko Koga, MD International Medal—the highest honor bestowed by the International Council for Respiratory Care. Back home in Indiana, that collaboration continues through his work in the lab of Benjamin Gaston, MD, where he’s conducting experiments on an asthma drug that has potential to be used as a therapeutic for COVID-19.

I hope you will join me in thanking Dr. Davis for his service. His spirit of COOPERATION is an example for us all as we work to prepare healers and transform health at IU School of Medicine.


Jay Hess signature

Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA
Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs
Dean of the School of Medicine
Indiana University

Faculty News

IU's Michael Davis cooperates with government, global health leaders to curb COVID cases in Liberia

During Liberia's recent COVID-19 surge, Michael D. Davis, PhD, assistant research professor at IU School of Medicine, served as consultant to the Minister of Health, collaborating with global partners to rapidly improve patient care in the nation of Liberia.

Laura Gates  |  Feb 09, 2022

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The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA

Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs

Jay L. Hess MD, PhD, MHSA became Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President for University Clinical Affairs at Indiana University in September 2013. Read his full bio.