In this season of giving and thanks-giving, IUPUI has much to be grateful for and much to be proud of.
Just before Thanksgiving, we received two extraordinary gifts within days of each other—$50 million from Melvin and Bren Simon for the IU Cancer Center and $40 million from the Lilly Endowment to support the IU Center on Philanthropy. In October, the nation’s first endowed chair in fundraising was established with a $1.5 million gift to the center. Adrian Sargeant, a leading expert in fundraising research, will be the first scholar to hold the Robert Hartsook Chair in Fundraising. These gifts are wonderful recognition for the work of the faculty in these centers of excellence.
Earlier this month, Sandra and I joined a team of 15 colleagues for a visit to Kenya. The occasion—a signing ceremony for the first-ever strategic alliance between Moi University in Eldoret and IUPUI. During the trip, I saw for the first time the magnificent work that has evolved from the IU School of Medicine’s 15-year partnership with Moi University. Kenya, which has 2.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, has faced challenges of staggering proportions. What began as a faculty/student exchange program to help launch Moi’s school of medicine has become an all-out effort to beat back the AIDS epidemic. The result is AMPATH.
AMPATH stands for Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS, a multifaceted approach that combines not only training, research, and treatment, but much, much more. AMPATH cares for 33,000 patients in 18 sites in western Kenya and adds 1,700 new patients monthly. Local caregivers are trained to administer drugs and provide patient counseling and follow-up.
During our trip, we saw the great good AMPATH has done. The accounts and statistics are now real. It is impossible not to be transformed by what we saw.
What immediately catches the attention of any visitor is that the AMPATH model trains Kenyans to treat the HIV/AIDS epidemic themselves, using what has been described as the most comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention program in Africa. It’s not only that clinical practice accompanied by research has led to the development of a drug protocol that has been proved to be effective and affordable in developing countries. It’s not only that AMPATH has very effective programs to block mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to conduct HIV prevention outreach.
It is even more comprehensive than all that.
AMPATH recognizes that antiretroviral drugs are not enough. People need nutritious food if drugs are to be effective. Prolonging life is not enough. People who are HIV-positive need to have jobs to support themselves and their families.
AMPATH does more than restore life, it restores hope.
AMPATH trains and employs not only health care workers but even a team of its own patients at every clinic who do home visits by foot, bicycle, or car when patients fail to come to scheduled appointments. AMPATH includes ways for people to be employed and regain self-sufficiency. Micro-credit loans help people start small businesses. The Imani Workshops program provides employment and training for HIV-positive clients to engage in sewing, paper-making, and other fair-trade crafts. (Products are available for sale at Global Gifts’ two locations in Indianapolis and the IUPUI Bookstores). An agricultural cooperative supplies vegetables, fruit, eggs, and milk. A partnership with the United Nation’s World Food Programme and U.S. Agency for International Development provides dry staples such as corn and beans.
The comprehensiveness and collaboration of AMPATH provide a model of how the Moi University-IUPUI Strategic Alliance will operate. Under the Strategic Alliance, the entire IUPUI campus will work with all of Moi University for mutual benefit.
To our knowledge this is the first such campuswide agreement. Our goal is to develop partnerships across the campuses. For example, the School of Social Work signed an agreement to partner with Moi University to launch a social work program. In turn, Moi agreed to host Master of Social Work students beginning January 2007. Other efforts include partnering to develop new academic programs (e.g., dentistry, nursing), creating student exchanges (e.g., University College, Student Life and Diversity), stimulating tourism and tourism research (School of Physical Education and Tourism Management), enhancing information technology infrastructure (School of Informatics), and student and faculty exchanges across disciplines. In each case, the expectation is that the partnership is bi-directional so that students, faculty, and staff learn from each other.
Randall Tobias, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said in hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year:
“What Kenya has needed most — what Africa needs most— is help in growing its own health care capacity. That’s exactly what the IU/Moi program is doing, while at the same time delivering healing and hope. This is what transformational development is all about.”
If you would like to support the IU-Kenya Partnership “Building Hope,” go to http://medicine.iupui.edu/kenya/
and click on How to Donate.
Charles R. Bantz