|(Training pics are full size; some more recent pictures -- with a bluish outline -- can be clicked to enlarge)
C.Wm. (Bill) Keck
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Peace Crops Physician
My wife, Ardith, and I stayed an extra year in La Paz so I could complete the Yungas Tuberculosis Control Project and start a new one in Tarija. In April 1969 we began a three month journey driving our jeep up the Pan American highway from La Paz to Cleveland, Ohio where I began a two year residency training program in Internal Medicine that July. During 1971-72 I earned a Masters Degree in Public Health from Harvard, and then became a Field Professor of Community Medicine for the University of Kentucky, living and working In Hazard, Ky. It was a little bit like being back in the Peace Corps. I taught medical students and helped to create a regional public health department out of six county health departments, and became its director.
In 1976 we moved to Akron, Ohio where we've lived since. I was jointly recruited by the Akron Health Department and a new medical school, and I ended up working full time at the health department as its director, and part time at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. After 27 years I retired four years ago from the health department position and expanded my time at the college of medicine. My career has focused on developing linkages between public health practice and academia. I've done my share of publishing in journals and books.
We returned to Bolivia once in 1994 to visit a few friends and familiar places, and managed to survive one more trip on the Yungas road. We took a side trip to the Galapagos Islands, as well.
A work related hobby has been a 15 year relationship with Cuba and its health system. They have what is probably the best system in the developing world, but we're not supposed to know about it. So, of course, I've been busy with others trying to get the word out. We have a new film about the system that is now out (see http://www.saludthefilm.net), and a book In preparation.
My wife and I enjoy traveling, reading, theater, and long distance cycling. I celebrated my retirement from the Akron Health Department, for example, by riding my bicycle from San Diego, Ca. to St. Augustine, Fla.
PC In Your Life
The Peace Corps changed my life by introducing me to public health through the Yungas Tb Program, primarily. I switched my career from internal medicine to public health and haven't looked back.
It may seem strange to many to read this, but the work I see now that reminds me most of the Peace Corps is the work and dedication of 30,000 Cuban health professionals working overseas.
Best/Worst PC Experience
The best thing about Peace Corps for me was having my eyes opened to how most of the world lives and encouraging me to learn more about public health.
The worst thing was dealing with the volunteer who developed
a malignancy and had to leave her site early to go home
for definitive treatment.
I stay in touch with the
Northeastern Ohio Returned Peace Corps Volunteer affiliate.
In the Future
I've told the dean at my institution that I'd like to step down form the position of Chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences and revert to faculty status so I can concentrate a bit more on the things I like to do rather than carry a full administrative load (the search is underway). I'm sure some long bicycle rides are waiting.
Favorites to Share
Inconvenient Truth, The Longest Day, Hotel Ruwanda, Motorcycle
Diaries, The King of Scotland