On a recent December evening, Dr. Dan Kelly (Class of 2008) held a fundraiser at Percy’s Tavern, in Manhattan, to bolster support for the nongovernmental organization (NGO) he helped establish in Sierra Leone while still a student at Einstein. Wellbody Alliance, formerly known as the Global Action Foundation, provides health as a human right to the rural poor of Sierra Leone. "We believe that every life matters, and we are trying to infuse our hope and energy into the public clinics and hospitals that we serve. Our vision, in the long run, is to rebuild the country’s public health system where the high-quality medical care we provide is accessible to all," said Dr. Kelly.
Such efforts have been keeping Dr. Kelly quite busy, as he recently completed a Fulbright scholarship in connection to his work in Sierra Leone. He will be headed to the University of California, San Francisco in July 2013, where he will begin a fellowship in infectious diseases. Until then, he continues his work in Sierra Leone and as a faculty member of Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, where he recently completed his residency in internal medicine.
"I have wonderful support at Baylor for my work abroad," he noted. "I’ve got a flexible schedule that allows me to spend about 70 percent of my time in Sierra Leone, where I’m overseeing a number of different grants that we’ve received." That includes a recent grant from the World Health Organization for $300,000 to conduct a community-based tuberculosis program and a text message grant to explore the use of texting with health workers in Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, his Sierra Leonean mentor and Wellbody Alliance founding partner, Dr. Mohamed Bailor Barrie, earned a Fulbright Scholarship that will sponsor a Master’s degree at Harvard Medical School starting in August 2013. The Master’s degree in Global Health Delivery is run in collaboration with Partners in Health. (Partners in Health, or PIH, is an NGO established by world-renowned global health authority Dr. Paul Farmer.)
"It's very exciting," said Dr. Kelly. "We’ve also become a ‘partner project’ to PIH, and this includes mentorship from the Boston office. PIH has created an incubator for like-minded organizations like us, and the support and information-sharing have been immensely helpful to our growth and development."
Also exciting for Dr. Kelly was seeing a number of his former classmates (Drs. Christina Gagliardo, Laura Korin, Frederick Nagel and Issa Toure) and a current Einstein student (Masha Kon) who had come out to support his NGO, along with members of the Princeton Friends of Wellbody, comprised of undergraduate students from Dr. Kelly’s undergraduate alma mater.
Click on the noted links to learn more about Dr. Kelly’s Wellbody Alliance and view past features about the work being done by Dr. Kelly and others in Sierra Leone.