Leonard Egede, MD, MS

Leonard Egede, MD, MS
Allen H. Johnson Endowed Chair
Professor of Medicine
Director, Center for Health Disparities Research
Director, VA HSR&D Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center

135 Rutledge Avenue
Room 280H
PO Box 250593
Charleston, SC 29425

MD, University of Benin
MSCR, Medical University of South Carolina

Biography and Research Interests
Dr. Egede is the Allen H. Johnson Endowed Chair and a tenured Professor of Medicine in the Division of General of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is the Director of the MUSC Center for Health Disparities Research and the Director of the Charleston VA HSR&D Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC), one of 19 nationally funded VA HSR&D Centers of Innovation (COIN). Dr. Egede is a general internist and health services researcher and has participated and led research projects designed to understand racial/ethnic variations in health care.  His expertise is in the interplay among psychosocial factors, race/ethnicity, and health outcomes for chronic diseases, and development and testing of interventions to improve health behaviors in ethnic minorities with chronic medical and mental conditions. He is currently a Deputy Editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine and on the editorial board of Current Diabetes Reviews. He also currently serves on the board of the Diabetes Initiative of South Carolina.

Project Involvement
Dr. Egede is the founder and president of Indigenous Health International (IHI) a non-profit organization with a mission to improve the healthcare of indigenous communities around the world.  Since its founding, IHI has established relationships with three indigenous communities: the Kuna Indians of Ustupu and Ogobsucun in Panama, the Masai warrior community in Rombo, Kenya, and the little people communities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The importance of providing access to medical care, medications and medical equipment in these communities is paramount. Malnutrition, infant mortality, unsafe water supplies, poor living conditions, and restricted access to health care services are common conditions in indigenous communities. This lack of healthcare contributes to the continuation of poverty and social injustice, and limits the capacity and options of the community and community members. Through 5-year partnerships, IHI helps the community develop healthcare capacity and empowers the population in addressing their health needs.

Kuna Yala, Panama
Dr. Egede spent a year meeting with community leaders, government officials, academic institutions and leaders in the Ministry of Health in Panama to develop a program that met the needs of the Kuna community. Since then IHI took three teams of medical professionals to provide medical care in concert with the local clinic that serves over 4,000 communities members. In addition to seeing patients, teams provided dental care and pulmonary function tests to islands that otherwise have no access, and distributed glasses, toothbrushes and toothpaste to community members. Team members also provided nutrition education, community screening for blood pressure and blood sugar, supported medication distribution and dispensed worm medication as part of triage for medical care. IHI has supported the local clinic in Panama by providing medications and medical equipment, and on our first trip in 2013 our team administered a community needs assessment, which will serve to direct future health interventions. Finally, with the help of community and clinic leadership, IHI developed a scholarship program to support local community members interested in completing studies in technical schools for nutrition and medical laboratory applied science.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Rombo Kenya
While taking part in trips to Panama, Dr. Egede has spent the last year meeting with a variety of stakeholders and developing similar programs with the little people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, and the Masai of Rombo, Kenya. Initial efforts within communities will begin in 2015 and will focus on providing direct medical care while developing goals in collaboration with the community members and leadership for the 5-year partnerships. Community health education and capacity building programs will then be initiated to foster active community involvement and engage the indigenous people in their health. Through these efforts IHI hopes to provide medical care in a way that builds the community and addresses the underlying causes of poor health.

Related Media

Selected Publications

  1. Gros DF, Strachan M, Ruggiero KJ, Knapp RG, Frueh BC, Egede LE, Lejuez CW, Tuerk PW, Acierno R. Innovative service delivery for secondary prevention of PTSD in at-risk OIF-OEF service men and women. Contemp Clin Trials.Jan 2011;32(1):122-128.
  2. Osborn CY, Amico KR, Fisher WA, Egede LE, Fisher JD. An information-motivation-behavioral skills analysis of diet and exercise behavior in Puerto Ricans with diabetes. J Health Psychol. 2010; May 7.
  3. Egede LE, Ellis C. Diabetes and depression: Global perspectives. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2010; Mar;87(3):302-312.