During more than a dozen visits over the last 24 years, Stephanie and Craig Brater have witnessed the transformative development of the health care system in western Kenya and that experience will fuel more global health advances as they assume leadership of the Indiana University Center for Global Health development board.
Established in 2010, the IU Center for Global Health is improving the delivery and effectiveness of health care, training leaders in global health, and conducting groundbreaking research. The center’s signature program is AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare), a partnership between Kenyan and North American universities and academic health centers.
Indiana University School of Medicine’s partnership with Moi University School of Medicine and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kenya began in 1990 and led to the creation of AMPATH in 2001. Dr. Brater served as dean of IU School of Medicine from 2000-13 and the Braters began visiting the partnership in 1995. Seeing the success of this partnership first-hand made the Braters fierce advocates and they have led many groups of friends and colleagues on tours of the program’s clinical care, research and education programs in Eldoret, Kenya.
“Advancing global health is an example of institutional role modeling of professionalism—namely, placing the needs of others above your own. To be immersed in that environment is fulfilling and an example of what medicine and life in general should be all about,” said the Braters.
Working with the Kenya Ministry of Health, the AMPATH partnership created one of Africa’s largest, most comprehensive and effective HIV/AIDS management and treatment models. AMPATH has transitioned its successful HIV approach into a comprehensive primary health care system, now serving a population of more than 4.5 million people in western Kenya. AMPATH’s consortium of North American universities, led by IU, now has 10 partner institutions including Brown University, Duke University and Purdue University.
“IU School of Medicine helped build perhaps the most comprehensive and successful large-scale HIV program in the developing world. This program is now being leveraged to become a broad scale health program,” Dr. Brater said. “Allowing students, residents and faculty to participate in the program reinforces the altruistic spirit of medicine and allows them to learn about systems of care in an environment that ironically avoids the dysfunctions of the health care system in the U.S.”
Dr. Brater recently shared the personal impact of his family’s earliest trips to Kenya at AMPATH’s evening of storytelling called Tusker Tales.
Bob Einterz, MD, director of the IU Center for Global Health and the AMPATH Consortium said the Braters bring a unique combination of medical, business and humanitarian experience to the development board.
“Craig and Stephanie’s professional experience and long-term personal commitment to improving health worldwide make them ideally suited for this role,” Einterz said. “Their leadership and advocacy on behalf of the IU Center for Global Health and AMPATH will help us build new partnerships and enhance our care, research and training efforts.”
AMPATH aspires to restore patients’ lives, as well as their health. Mrs. Brater is a long-time volunteer and supporter of the Sally Test Pediatric Center in Eldoret. A library at the center bears Mrs. Brater’s name in recognition of her dedication.
“Sally Test Pediatric Center is a good example of helping children who are helpless,” Mrs. Brater said. “When it was created, AIDS was a huge issue and babies were being abandoned or their parents had died. Taking care of children for months at a time to ensure they have a better start in life is one of the most important tasks one can imagine. It is immediately gratifying when you see the children thrive, and the children are so grateful. Unfortunately, some of the children do not make it but they can have a loving, dignified death.”
In addition to leading the IU Center for Global Health development board, Mrs. Brater supports Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Health through involvement in St. Margaret’s Guild and has helped victims of domestic violence by volunteering for the prosecutor’s office. She has been involved with the IU Center of Excellence in Women’s Health since its inception. Dr. Brater is on the Board of Directors for BioCrossroads and previously served as Chairman of the Board.
Visit the IU Center for Global Health (@IUGlobalHealth) or AMPATH (@AMPATHKenya) on Facebook or Twitter for more information about care, training and research efforts.
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.
As communications manager for the IU Center for Global Health and AMPATH, Debbie shares stories about the university's partnerships to improve health care in Kenya and around the world. Contact her at 317-278-0827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.