Innovation is so important. In one sense, it sparks interest and excitement. In another sense – it foretells of future experiences that most certainly will be for the privileged. However, innovative ideas that are initiated at the community level, those are are exciting projects.
We started the anemia project because of one man. Well, thousands of children – and the man who brought the need to our attention. Sr. Hoover has worked as a nutritionist with the Peruvian Ministry of Health for years. Steadily, he’s watched anemia get worse and worse. Concerned there was no current program that could truly address the complexity of anemia in impoverished communities in Perú, he started looking for options.
He knew there was a need for a program that could address the concerns of the community and help to build an ongoing approach to prevention. He knew he needed partners. That’s where we came in. We’ve helped to build a model program that brings together unique partners to truly address the multitude of issues that lead to iron deficiency anemia.
Under the leadership of Karen Falkenstein, Director of Nursing and Evaluation, the program has grown to include three separate high-risk communities – helping hundreds of families. The program has also generated a great deal of attention. In November – Karen and Hoover, along with our Medical Director, Dr. Robert Gehringer were invited to participate in a scientific symposium in Arequipa sponsored by the food manufacturing company Gloria – where we received the top prize and a financial award for the innovative approach our teams developed.
By bringing together unique partners – we help to develop a collaborative model that has the potential to save the lives of children in communities around Latin America. And, to think, it all started with one man . . . and a few thousand children. That’s pretty cool. That is something to be truly thankful for.