Valerie Palmer recognized for innovative social-impact contributions

Valerie Palmer, faculty instructor at OHSU, was recently selected by Encore.org as one of 41 Purpose Prize Fellows for her work creating an education exchange, bringing services to immigrant refugees and raising health-care professionals’ cultural awareness and cooperation.

Encore.org is a national nonprofit that is building a movement to tap the experience of people in midlife and beyond who are using their encore years – the time of traditional retirement – to undertake powerful social-impact projects.

Valerie S. Palmer

Faculty Instructor, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Board President, Immigrant Refugee and Community Organization, Oregon Health & Science University, Global Health Center
Purpose Prize Fellow 2015

Struggle to understand and prevent brain diseases in children;  a global problem
The struggle to understand and prevent brain diseases in children; a global problem

I was born in South Africa under apartheid. As a person of mixed race, my skin color led to discrimination, in society and within my family. As the oldest girl, I looked after my siblings, cleaned house, prepared meals, cared for farm animals and walked miles to school each day. And when I was sick, I had compassionate medical care from a beloved local physician, whose respect for life stood in sharp contrast to the apartheid regime.

At 17, I left South Africa, eventually finding sanctuary in the United States, where I acquired freedom, education and full enfranchisement previously denied.

My early research stimulated me to create a nonprofit focused on health disorders in low-income countries. Later, in the field and laboratory, I explored neurological disorders across the world. In 2007, when the OHSU Global Health Center opened, I began to share my knowledge with students entering the health professions….

Continue reading Valerie’s story at Encore.org

Learn more:
Conference paper on research conducted in Gulu, Uganda
Inter-professional Community Health & Education Exchange (iCHEE)
The Oregonian: “OHSU program gives immigrants, the unemployed and underemployed a way to get health checkups”
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onward

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With your support, our scientists can decode the genetic mysteries of neurological disease and create a new standard of care for patients affected by autism, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Learn more at onwardohsu.org/neuro.