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Healthcare PlexusCall: Positive Deviance Joins Polio Eradication Campaign in Pakistan
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When: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
1-2pm ET

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Healthcare PlexusCall
Wednesday, April 10, 2012, 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT Change of Date
Topic: Positive Deviance Joins Polio Eradication Campaign in Pakistan

Guests: Roger Swartz and Monique Sternin 

MP3 File


Presentation pdf: Community Innovations for Polio Eradication (CIPE)

The task of eliminating polio from the whole world is reminiscent of the task of Sisyphus, who every day rolled a huge stone up a steep hill, only to have it roll back down. While many parts of the world are now free from polio infections, a few areas are finding it difficult to meet the goal of universal vaccination. The Positive Deviance Initiative has joined the World Health Organization and Global Polio Eradication Initiative (WHO/GPEI) Spearheading Partners WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, CDC and the Gates Foundation in the vaccination campaign in Pakistan. Positive Deviance (PD) is an innovative approach designed for entrenched, complex problems that have proven difficult to solve. By engaging stakeholders in a process of data collection, dialogue and discovery, PD enables communities to leverage behavioral and social innovations that already exist. To learn more about PD, check out the video below or this website, with a discussion by Arvind Singhal and videos of Monique Sternin and PD initiatives in Uganda and Indonesia.

Roger Swartz and Monique Sternin will join the call to talk about Community Innovations for Polio Eradication (CIPE), a project to identify and address barriers to polio eradication in selected areas of Karachi, Pakistan with persistent transmission of polio. The PDI team is working with the Ministry of Health, Spearheading Partners, and local NGOs to identify existing successful behaviors and strategies, and set the stage for disseminating the discovered solutions. They will share some of the challenges, and how community members who are conducting the PD inquiries are finding ways to deal with challenges. They will also talk about applying the PD process to situations closer to our own everyday lives.

Please bring your own experience and your questions and join this conversation.

Roger Conrad Swartz, MPH, is the Executive Director of the Positive Deviance Initiative at Tufts University. Roger Swartz joined the PDI team as Executive Director in November 2010. He is director of CIPE (Community Innovation for Polio Eradication) in Pakistan.

Roger brings significant leadership experience in public health policy and practice. Roger came to the PDI from the Boston Public Health Commission where he was Director of the Community Initiatives Bureau for ten years. In this role, Roger was responsible for managing staff and programs in the Divisions of Chronic Disease Prevention & Control, Environmental Health, Healthy Homes & Community Supports and Civic Engagement & Advocacy. Roger also worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and was instrumental in establishing the Tobacco Prevention & Control Program in MA.


Having worked in Africa and the Middle East, Roger brings significant experience managing and implementing international public health programs. He has worked with John Snow, Inc., World Vision International and the Peace Corps. 

Monique Sternin is a Senior Consultant at the Positive Deviance Initiative and Adjunct Associate professor, at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

Born and raised in Paris, France, she did her graduate studies at the University of Paris in American literature and civilization. She also holds a Master Degree in Education from Harvard University and a non-degree certificate in adult education from Boston State College. Her professional career has taken her from Himalayan communities to nomadic encampments in the Mauritanian desert via American hospitals and many other communities in between.

Over the past 20 years, Monique has been involved in developing and promoting the Positive Deviance Approach, an asset-based method to solve complex problems requiring behavior and social change which she pioneered with her husband Jerry Sternin in Viet Nam.

She has applied the PD methodology in a variety of public health issues including childhood malnutrition, advocacy against female genital cutting in Egypt, condom negotiation and usage by commercial sex workers in Myanmar and issues of maternal and newborn care in Pakistan. Monique has also been instrumental in the development and scaling up of the use of the PD approach for childhood malnutrition worldwide, and its applications in a wide variety of sectors such as education, child protection, anticorruption, penal systems, disaster preparedness and recovery and polio eradication in Pakistan.

In the US, Monique has been involved in pioneering the use of the PD approach to eradicate and prevent hospital acquired infections (specifically MRSA) in 6 US hospitals in collaboration with the Plexus Institute under a Robert Wood Johnson grant.

Besides consultancies in the use of the PD approach in new fields, Monique conducts PD orientation sessions at various academic institutions. She has trained hundreds of individuals and organizations in the art of PD facilitation in their fields and collaborated in the production of various PD training manuals for different sectors.

With her deceased husband, Jerry Sternin, and Richard Pascale, she co-authored the book entitled "The Power of Positive Deviance: how unlikely innovators solved intractable problems” published by Harvard Business publishers in June 2010.

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