Global Livingston Institute and Global Down Syndrome Foundation Launch Major Research Initiative to Address Gaps in Services for Persons With Down Syndrome in Uganda

PhotoCredit GLI; L-R Jamie Van Leeuwen; Bryn Gelaro; Taylor Shields; Dr. Thelma Awori, honorary consul general of the republic of Liberia; Michelle Sie Whitten; Chris Callanan; Ryan Grundy

PhotoCredit GLI; L-R Jamie Van Leeuwen; Bryn Gelaro; Taylor Shields; Dr. Thelma Awori, honorary consul general of the republic of Liberia; Michelle Sie Whitten; Chris Callanan; Ryan Grundy

Denver, Colorado (October 6, 2016) – The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) announced a major joint research initiative to investigate existing resources and services in Uganda for persons with Down syndrome. The purpose of this research project is to work closely in the communities that the Global Livingston Institute serves to better understand both data and resources currently available in Uganda related to Down syndrome.

Others involved in this initiative include the Special Presidential Assistant Directorate of under privileged/disabled for the Republic of Uganda, Embrace Kulture, The Ugandan Ministry of Education – Special Needs Education, Child Fund International, The Uganda Down’s Syndrome Association, and the Honorable Consul General of the Republic of Liberia. “Collaborations like these are exactly what the Global Livingston Institute is all about”, said Jamie Van Leeuwen, Founder and CEO of the Global Livingston Institute. “We are excited to bring the right people to the table to address to improve the quality of life for countless individuals and their families in Uganda.”

“Global works to significantly improve the lives of all people with Down syndrome, and this is our first foray on the African continent”, said Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “Adopting the GLI mantra of listening and thinking before acting, we are confident this research project will lead to sustainable solutions to gaps in crucial services in Uganda for people with Down syndrome.”

“As members of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, we are grateful for their important research and medical care, and we are excited to have Global and GLI working with us to directly help people with Down syndrome in Uganda,” said Michael Okiro–Emadit, Director of Uganda Down’s Syndrome Association.GLI, Global, and our Ugandan collaborators are currently assembling an advisory board that will inform this research project. One of the members of this collaborative, the Honorable Consul General Dr. Thelma Awori, remarked that “this topic is close to my heart. It is very important to me that there are services.” The Special Assistant to the President for the Republic of Uganda said that “this appointment is hard to fill. There is a lot of work to do and now there is a team to help.”

The intent of this research is also to provide a template that could be used for other communities as Global begins to look at this issue more in-depth in developing countries. 

About the Global Livingston Institute:

The Global Livingston Institute (GLI) is a community-based research institute developing strategic partnerships in both East Africa and in the United States with a focus on education and social impact. Modeled after the Aspen Institute, GLI creates a place at the table for students and community leaders to discuss innovative complex solutions to poverty. The organization is divided into two core areas of focus: Education (Listen. Think.) and Social Impact (Act.).

The GLI currently takes nearly 200 students and community leaders to East Africa each year for university study abroad trips, high school trips, leadership conferences, youth summits, research internships, and a number of other events. The organization also employs 19 Ugandans full time to manage our East African operations.

The Global Livingston Institute has two campuses; one in the Muyenga District of Kampala in Central Uganda and our main research center in Kabale in Southern Uganda (Entusi Resort and Retreat Center). The GLI is also operating research projects in northern Uganda and has public health and education contacts throughout the country. The GLI selected Uganda and Rwanda as both countries are eager to engage in research, education and job creation opportunities. Since 2009, the GLI has developed extensive networks with the public, private and nonprofit communities in both countries.

About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation:

Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public nonprofit dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Global supports two affiliates which together constitute the only academic home in the United States committed solely to research and medical care for people with Down syndrome – the Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome. Global also publishes Down Syndrome World, a national award-winning quarterly magazine. For more information, visit Follow Global Down Syndrome Foundation on Facebook & Twitter @GDSFoundation.