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David Walmer

Associate Professor of the Practice of Global Health

(919) 572-4673

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David Walmer


David Walmer, MD, PhD began his academic career at Duke in 1987 as a physician scientist studying the mechanism of action of estrogen in collaboration with John McLachlan, PhD at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
In 1993, David's academic interests shifted to global health after meeting Dr. Jean Claude Fertillien in Leogane, Haiti. Together David and Jean Claude began a 23 year research campaign to develop a scalable model for cervical cancer prevention that could be realistically grown into a national program. That journey led David & his wife Kathy to found Family Health Ministries (FHM) in 2000.

To date under the direction of Dr. Walmer, FHM's cervical cancer prevention efforts have led to
1. the discovery of problems with obscuring inflammation when using cervical cytology as a primary screening strategy
2. the invention of a battery-operated portable colposcope (CerviScope)
3. the introduction of HPV screening as a primary screen for cervical dysplasia
4. the adoption of vaginal self-sampling as an acceptable screening method for cervical dysplasia
5. opening of Haiti's 1st HPV testing laboratory
6. the introduction of digital pathology to Haiti through a collaboration with PathForce Dx
7. the formation of 'Haiti sans Cervical Cancer' an organization committed to unifying cervical cancer prevention efforts in Haiti

Dr. Walmer and FHM has also been investigating women and children's health care issues in the mountains of the Leogane Commune for 20 years. In March 2016 FHM is opening the Carmelle Voltaire Women's Center, which will begin to provide health care services while continuing to investigate strategies for improving women and children's health care in rural Haiti.
Most recently David began investigating the impact of hypertension on health in Haiti in partnership with Duke Faculty member Joel Boggan, MD.

Many Duke Students (undergraduate SRT program, graduate MSGH program) have contributed to FHM's global health research efforts.



Recent Publications

Kligerman M, Walmer D, Merrell SB . (2015)The socioeconomic impact of international aid: a qualitative study of healthcare recovery inpost-earthquake Haiti and implications for future disaster relief.Global Public Health, 2015 Nov 13:1-14, PMID: 26565063.

Kligerman, M., Barry, M., Walmer, D., & Bendavid, E. (2015).International Aid and Natural Disasters: A Pre- and Post-Earthquake Longitudinal Study of theHealthcare Infrastructure in Leogane, Haiti.The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 92(2), 448—453.

Boggan, J. C., Walmer, D. K., Henderson, G., Chakhtoura, N., McCarthy, S. H., Beauvais, H. J., &Smith, J. S. (2015). Vaginal self-sampling for HPV infection as a primary cervical cancerscreening tool in a Haitian population. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 42(11), 655—659.

Boggan JC, Walmer DK, HendersonG,Chakhtoura N, McCarthy SH, Beauvais HJ, Smith JS. PhD3,7 Vaginal self-sampling for HPV infection as a primary cervical cancer screening tool in a Haitian population, Sexually Transmitted Diseases 42(11):655-659,2015

The Socioeconomic Impact of International Aid: A Qualitative Study of Aid and Healthcare Recovery in Post- Earthquake Haiti. Maxwell Kligerman, David Walmer & Sylvia Bereknyei Merrell, Global PublicHealth DOI:1 0.1080/17441692.2015.1094111

Kligerman M, Barry M, Walmer D, Bendavid E. International Aid and Natural Disasters: A Pre-and Post-Earthquake Longitudinal Study of the Healthcare Infrastructure in Leogane, Haiti. Amierican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 92(2):448-453,2015, DOI:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0379

Walmer DK, Eder PS, Bell L, Salim H, Kobayashi L, Ndirangu J, Tinfo N, Castle PE. Human Papillomavirus Prevalence in a Population of Women Living in Port-au-Prince and Leogane, Haiti, PLoS One. 2013 Oct 3;8(10):e76110. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076110.

Peragallo Urrutia R, Merisier D, Small M, Urrutia E, Tinfo N, Walmer DK. Unmet health needs identified by Haitian women as priorities for attention: a qualitative study. Reprod Health Matters. 2012 Jun;20(39):93-103.

Urrutia RP, Merisier D, Small M, Urrutia E, Walmer DK. Unmet health needs identified by Haitian women as priorities for attention: a qualitative study. Reproductive Health Matters May 2012.

Chang V T-C, Merisier D, Yu B, Walmer DK, Ramanujam N. Towards a field-compatible optical spectroscopic device for cervical cancer screening in resource-limited settings: effects of calibration and pressure. Optics Express September 2011; 19(19): 17908-24.

Yang HP, Walmer DK, Merisier D, Gage JC, Bell L, Rangwala S, Shrestha N, Kobayashi L, Eder PS, Castle PE. A pilot analytic study of a research-level, lower-cost human papillomavirus 16, 18, and 45 test. J Virol Methods. 2011 Sep;176(1-2):112-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2011.05.024. Epub 2011 May 27.

Vivide Tuan-Chyan Chang, Delson Merisier, Bing Yu, David K. Walmer, Nirmala Ramanujam. Calibration schemes of a field-compatible optical spectroscopic system to quantify neovascular changes in the dysplastic cervix. Proc SPIE 02/2011; DOI:10.1117/12.875855

Lai BE. Henderson MH. Peters JJ. Walmer DK. Katz DF. Transport theory for HIV diffusion through in vivo distributions of topical microbicide gels. Biophysical Journal. 97(9):2379-87, 2009 Nov 4.

Obure J, Olala O, Swai B, Mlay P, Masenga G, Walmer D. Prevalence and severity of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesion in a tertiary hospital in Northern Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research 11(4):163-9, 2009 Oct.

Henderson MH, Couchman BC, Walmer DK, Peters JJ, Owen DH, Brown MA, Lavine ML, Katz DF, Optical imaging and analysis of human vaginal coating by drug delivery gels. Contraception 75:142-151, 2007