In pursuit of finding a non-profit that shared her personal passion of expanding health access to those in need, Delali Attiogbe Attipoe attended a Board Match San Francisco event and fortuitously met ReSurge President and CEO Jeff Whisenant and ReSurge Chief Operations Officer Beverly Kent.
“We had a wonderful conversation about the misnomer that the bulk of health needs in low to middle income countries comes from diseases such as TB, HIV and malaria,” said Delali. “When in fact the focus should be on non-communicable factors, especially the lack of medical professionals available to address accidents, burn and other maladies. When I learned about the work that ReSurge was doing, I knew I had found my match.”
It was indeed the perfect match! Given Delali’s extensive experience in global health, especially in East Africa, she brings a unique, priceless perspective to the ReSurge Board of Directors. Delali is first generation, born in Kansas to a family originally from Ghana. As a child, Delali lived all over the world and was exposed to a number of different cultures. She credits her interest in international healthcare to her vast travels and living abroad.
Delali began her career in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry working for Genentech, a Roche company. She eventually moved over to Roche where she worked in East Africa as the head of six countries seeking to expand healthcare access through private/public partnerships.
Eventually, Delali moved back to the U.S. and joined 54gene as the chief operating officer. This unique company’s goal is to build one of the world’s most diverse datasets in order to equalize precision medicine. 54gene is doing this by focusing primarily on the genomic data of the African population. Through her work, Delali has been able to translate some of her learnings into key lessons for ReSurge as the organization expands work in Sub-Saharan Africa through the RIPA program.
“ReSurge is appropriately focusing on medical training through the RIPA program,” said Delali. “Other organizations come into Africa and provide surgeries, but then leave without training the surgical teams on the ground so they can continue the work. The ReSurge model is a more effective medical ecosystem in that it trains-the-trainer and provides long-lasting impact. It goes back to the biblical lesson of not just giving someone a fish, but teaching someone to fish so they can take care of themselves long after you’re gone. We will see a powerful evolution in building surgical capacity in Africa thanks to the RIPA program.”
Delali also applauds ReSurge’s all-disciplinary approach. She pointed out how ReSurge is training not only surgeons, but also other health professionals such as anesthesiologists and nurses, creating a true wrap around solution that equips the whole surgical team with the skills they need to provide safe procedures.
As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to slowly wane in the U.S., Delali emphasized the importance of in-person connection between ReSurge and our African partners.
“ReSurge has done an amazing job pivoting to virtual trainings during COVID,” said Delali. “We’ve realized that we can bring so many more medical professionals into the surgical ecosystem. But a hybrid model will be essential in building trust and meaningful relationships with our African partners. Working with the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) is a great first step, but it is also essential to engage the government and other public/private organizations to create a sustainable framework. Word of the program will travel fast and the ReSurge reputation will spread to other communities. I am excited to travel to Africa with ReSurge one day to see this awesome program in action.”