Dennis Willms is an Associate Professor (ret.) at McMaster University, Canada. He earned his doctorate in Medical Anthropology from the University of British Columbia, followed by clinical Anthropology training at the University of Washington.
Emerging out of his PHC ethnographic research conducted in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe, primarily focusing on HIV/AIDS risk realities, it seemed necessary to establish the Salama SHIELD Foundation (SSF) in 1994 -- SHIELD is an acronym for “sustaining health initiatives, enabling local development”.
SSF advances participatory action (research) where microfinance anchors community-based programs in food security, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH), adolescent education, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
His ongoing research is translation-science-oriented: he addresses the communication challenges occurring when biomedical systems of thought collide with indigenous “ways of knowing”. In coming alongside vulnerable communities, his agenda is to work together with moral entrepreneurs in the co-creation of culturally-compelling solutions that mitigate health and development concerns.