Friday, August 24, 2012

Meet Roger LeBrun—Professor with URI's College of the Environment and Life Sciences - Department of Plant Sciences and Entomology and One of the Coordinators of URI's Honors Colloquium!

The Class of 2016 is entering University of Rhode Island at an auspicious time. URI’s annual fall Honors Colloquium is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and I’m proud to be one of the coordinators of this year’s program, along with Jef Bratberg from Pharmacy and Mary Cloud and Shahla Yekta from Nursing. The semester-long lecture series, called “Health Care Change? Health, Politics and Money,” will examine the forces that influence the health care system in the United States and abroad, which results in wide disparities in access to health care.

The Colloquium will feature some of the world’s most prominent voices, including the president of Doctor’s Without Borders and the medical director of the international charity Partners in Health. The lecture series begins on Tuesday, Sept. 11, with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder, who will discuss your Common Reading book Mountains Beyond Mountains. As you know, MBM is about Paul Farmer, a physician who is single-mindedly bent on improving the health of some of the poorest people on the planet, especially those who suffer from tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. This important book will be used in the Colloquium coordinators’ Honors 201 course to show "how one person can make a difference in solving global public health problems through a clear-eyed understanding of the interaction of politics, wealth, social systems and disease." Professors Bratberg, Cloud, Yekta, and I designed the course using the World Health Organization’s model, which demonstrates the main determinants of health that contribute to health inequities amongst individuals, societies and nations.

I hope Mountains Beyond Mountains will inspire you to learn, travel, and give back what you've learned to those who have so little. You are undertaking a new and exciting adventure at URI, which comes with a responsibility to generously share the wealth you enjoy. Mountains Beyond Mountains will show you how one extraordinary person did just that.

For a complete list of the Honors Colloquium’s speakers, go to
If you are interested in learning more about URI’s Honors Program, go to


URI Common Reading said...

Hi my name is Sophie Beron, I'm an incoming nursing major and with this I was able to relate to Paul Farmer interest wise throughout this book. The medical field always has interested me as well as helping people and putting the two together is what helped me decide what to do with my life, Farmer took this further than I and many others typically would. Farmer helps Haiti from the inside. With America being one of the wealthier countries in the world and one that is respected for its involvement throughout the world, it is almost a responsibility, it seems, to help less fortunate countries. However, money is only able to fix so much especially coming from a country suffering from its own problems, and Farmer proves that there is more than what money is able to fix and that helping from the inside and becoming one of the people puts you in a better position to take an approach to spark change.

Anonymous said...

I am Shayla Minteer, Medical Lab Science/Business junior in the URI honor's colloquium. I truly appreciate this class being offered in the program this year as it highlights many of my strongest beliefs- writing now from cervicusco clinic in Larapa, Peru, I have seen first hand the global health issues that impoverished countries face. Right now, doctors in hospitals around Peru are on strike because of their low wages, meaning that those who actually have health care in Peru cannot be treated in a hospital. Those who can be treated are forced to pay for their treatment prior to receiving it, sometimes having to purchase their own supplies at the pharmacy.

I believe that one person can make a difference, and I believe that people need to be self-starters and motivated to cause change humbly. Too many college students do not know how to use the resources at their fingertips in order to do so; I truly hope that this course will lesson this problem.

Shayla Minteer

Russell Lavoie said...

Hi, My name is Russell Lavoie. I am a Environmental and Natural Resource Economics major at URI. I find Mountains Beyond Mountains to be a very inspirational book. Paul Farmer changed the lives of many people through his work. Farmer's unrelenting perseverance allowed him to help the sick in Haiti, where it is most needed. Being an Economics major I see the importance of equality in society. I believe that individuals like Farmer make the world a more equal place. Doctors are some of the most important individuals in the world and their work is undoubtedly priceless. The citizens in areas of third world countries like Haiti know this best. Farmer's life story is in inspiration to anyone who is pursuing a life dream. His story gives hope to young adults entering college to work to their full potential and possibly then they can make a difference. The moral of Mountains Beyond Mountains is one person can truly make a difference, and with effort and perseverance anything is truly possible.

Jacquilyn Santos said...

Hi my name is jacquilyn Santos. After just seeing Tracy kidder speak I found Paul farmer a life changing guy. He helped Haiti by curing people of tuberculosis and aids. I found this caring and loving as a human being. He takes pride for what he does and loves doing it with no problem. He had changed many lives and I'm sure they all appreciate him for his work. But before Tracy kidder spoke a man spoke and one thing that stuck out was that he said "beyond mountains there are just more mountains" and I never thought of the title that way and it really fascinated me. In life there are many struggles to over come and there always seem to come back to make you a stronger and better person. But the whole speech taught me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. The speech was truly amazing and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains is truly an amazing book about a dedicated and motivated doctor, Paul Farmer. He goes to unfortunate and poor countries to try and help these children overcome infectious diseases. It teaches us many lessons, one which involves us to become aware of these children's lifestyles. They live in an unsanitary world, that lacks food and shelter, as well as the education needed to improve their health. It makes us realize how much they need people's help, and how much of a change we make to them. URI provides many programs that will somehow benefit each and every individual in Haiti, as well as other countries. I feel this is essential, and a life changing opportunity that more students should consider.

Sydney Duquette said...

Going into my senior year in High School I always wanted to be a nurse, I applied to all of my schools as a nursing major. I decided halfway through my senior year that nursing wasn't for me, and I realized this because I took a Human Anatomy class and everything we did in the class was things I would have to know and do with a nursing major, and it just grossed me out and made me very uninterested in the field. I had to re-apply to all of my schools with a different major, and I chose psychology, which I hope to eventually declare a double major in criminalistics. But my whole life I always said I wanted to go to a foreign country, like Haiti, and help out the poor. But knowing that things along the line of nursing, made me uncomfortable, I realized doing this would be really hard for me. So I hope to in my criminal psychology field, help people in some way with that. With my increasing knowledge of mental illness/diseases, and crimes related to poverty, I hope that I will later on in life be able to help poor people in foreign countries out in this way.

Anonymous said...

While I attended a diversity week event that Dr. Lebrun spoke at with a Haitian native Norly, he pointed out that if more people had the resources and knowledge to treat illness, purify water, build dams, etc. then the Haitian’s could perform all of these tasks on their own. They wouldn’t need people from the US going into their country bringing unwanted illness and contagions with them. It would be more time efficient, and the country as a whole would begin to grow and become better off. If someone like Dr. Lebrun could go to Haiti and teach people how to perform things like holistic medicine, or even more common cures to sickness. Also, have a few other specialists go into the country to teach other areas of work that are needed.

Stephanie Gioielli said...

Hey Everyone,
I'm Stephanie, a psychology major (soon to be Political Science major). I believe that people give up, too soon for a difference to be made in the world. What this world needs is a generation willing and determined enough to make a difference in the many issues that plague our global community. Dr. Lebrun made a valid point, "it is important to think...logically, find your passion and learn how to excel in your passion and then determine the direction you wish to go in". He said this during the multicultural event: Mountain Beyond Mountain Discussion Roundtable.
Dr. Lebrun encourages us as members of the global community to go out side the borders, volunteer for an organizations that you genuinely support and believe in the ideology or cause. He also, encourages us to become the next “Paul Farmer” and that to make this happen, we as an individual need to make the decision to excel at something that will make your existence worth-wild.

Anonymous said...

I like the fact that Mountains Beyond Mountains provides an insight of one man's struggle to improve the global community. In this day and age, contributing to world wide problems is something that every one should strive for. I also like how Dr. Lebrun implores us all to learn through travel, and to give back to those less fortunate. I think that travel and the motivation to help out with global issues are very closely related. How can you know the problems of an area unless you have gone there and experienced them first hand yourself?

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