J. Kristofer Sherwood, MD was the first global health fellow in the 2012-2013 academic year. He received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School and completed his family medicine residency at the University of Washington in the Roosevelt/Northgate track.
Dr. Sherwood first became involved in the field of global health in the summer of 2006 between his first and second year of medical school. He traveled with his friend Deogratias “Deo” Niyzonkiza and others to the nation of Burundi in east Africa to continue preparations for a medical center in the village of Kigutu, Burundi. Dr. Sherwood spent the trip traveling with Deo and others to lay the groundwork for the medical center, including meeting with community leaders, government officials, construction contractors, and health officials.
Shortly after this trip, Deo founded the organization Village Health Works (www.villagehealthworks.org) to support the construction and operation of a health center in Kigutu. During the subsequent years, Dr. Sherwood continued to work to raise funds, find resources, and raise awareness for Village Health Works in the USA. Village Health Works started seeing patients in December 2006 and have since seen well over 50,000 patients. They continue to offer a comprehensive community health program that includes inpatient and outpatient care in addition to economic, agriculture, and education programs to help relieve the extreme poverty that affects the region.
In August of 2011, Dr. Sherwood returned to Kigutu during a residency elective to work as a volunteer clinician for Village Health Works. He helped the Burundian medical staff provide medical care for Village Health Works’ patients and assisted in training activities for the medical staff. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the visit for Dr. Sherwood was the opportunity to work so closely with the Burundian medical staff and exchange knowledge for the betterment of patient care.
After completion of the fellowship, Dr. Sherwood hopes to secure a career in which he can continue to provide excellent patient care to immigrants, refugees, and travelers in the USA, including by serving as a resource and teacher in his community. He also hopes to continue to work closely with Village Health Works to expand and improve their clinical programs as able through work at home and abroad.