Charles Sherman, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Alpert Medical School
Director of Field Operations, East African Training Initiative,
Ethiopian Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Training Program,
University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Head, Global Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brown University
Dr. Charles Sherman is a board certified internist, pulmonologist and critical care specialist. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University where he has been acknowledged as an award winning clinician and teacher. He has extensive clinical research experience, both at Harvard and Brown, in the areas of asthma, COPD, tuberculosis, and tobacco use. He was the Director of the Pulmonary Division at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, RI from 1989-2000, a position of extensive administrative responsibilities.
For the past 12 years, Dr. Sherman has been in a very busy private pulmonary practice at Coastal Medical, the largest private practice internal medicine group in Rhode Island. Additionally, for the past several years, he has served as a member of the clinical staff for the RISE Clinic, Rhode Island's State Tuberculosis Control Program. Over the last 16 years, he has worked on short-term tuberculosis and AIDS projects in Latin America, Africa, and Eurasia. He currently holds leadership positions in several pulmonary and critical care training programs in East Africa (Kenya and Ethiopia) where he participates in joint efforts to assess and improve the pulmonary, critical care, and TB knowledge of local healthcare providers and to develop and monitor appropriate pulmonary and TB diagnostic and treatment programs.
In 2013, Dr. Sherman was appointed as Director of Field Operations, East African Training Initiative, Ethiopian Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Training Program at the University of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Head of Global Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine for the Brown University Global Health Initiative.
GHI Spotlight Interview
What is your current status at Brown?
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine
How did you first get interested in global health?
Before starting medical school, I spent 6 months traveling in parts of Africa and Asia. I witnessed great poverty and health inequity. At a deep level, I realized then that I wanted to work in global health in some capacity. But this was 1976 when few people were interested in this type of work. However, I was fortunate to find mentors all during my training who helped me develop the skills that proved important to my future international work.
How did you become involved with your project?
In 1996, I read an advertisement in a low impact journal inviting US medical school faculty to participate in a clinical, educational, and research partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine and Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. With the support of my chair of medicine, Dr. Charles Carpenter, I traveled to Kenya and had an amazingly rich medical experience. I was so excited by my work in Eldoret that upon my return I encouraged former Dean Donald Marsh to formally involve the Brown Medical School in the partnership. With his assistance and those of other colleagues, Drs. Jane Carter and James Myers, the Brown Kenya Program was born. This program served as a spring board for other HIV, TB and pulmonary work that I have done in Guatemala, Russia, Lesotho, and Ethiopia.
What is most difficult about your global health work? Most rewarding?
I am a very goal oriented person who can become frustrated with the slow pace of change that can occur with some global health projects. But I love the lasting relationships that I have made with my colleagues all over the world.
How does your global health work fit in with your career plans?
I have had a varied medical career, starting off in academic medicine and then transitioning to private practice. During this time, I was able to do short overseas projects. For the past 4 years, I have committed more time and effort to starting clinical and research training programs for pulmonary and critical care medicine in Kenya and Ethiopia. I hope to spend the next part of my career using my gained experience to start similar programs in other parts of East Africa and beyond.
What has your experience been with global health at Brown (Framework, GHI, etc.)?
For years I have assisted others on projects that have been part of the Brown Global Health Initiative. I now look forward to taking on a direct mentoring role with the GHI helping medical students, residents, fellows, and faculty become engaged in global pulmonary and critical care medicine projects.
Any other thoughts/comments you'd like to add?
I think that the key to our work in global health is sustainability that can only be achieved with strong partnerships between institutions and in-country collaborators.