Title: EPI coordinator of underground research, and assistant professor of health services research, management and policy
College/Institute: College of Public Health and Health Professions
Research interests: epidemiology, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, dengue, cholera
Curriculum vitae: PDF
Valery E. Madsen Beau de Rochars is a medical doctor, public health researcher and epidemiologist whose focus at the EPI is trained on emerging and re-emerging diseases in Haiti. A former CDC epidemic intelligence service officer, Beau de Rochars is also an assistant professor of health services, research, management and policy in UF’s College of Public Health and Health Professions.
Beau de Rochars serves as the coordinator for various epidemiological field research projects in Haiti, which is his home country. Before joining the EPI, he was involved in a nationwide mapping effort to better understand the frequency and transmission dynamics of lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Haiti. LF is caused by a parasitic worm spread by mosquitoes. People infected with LF can sometimes develop severe swelling in their arms, legs or genitals when the worms clog lymphatic vessels and create a blockage. LF is a leading cause of lost wages and economic productivity in some areas of the world.
After completing the LF mapping and surveying, Beau de Rochars assisted with a program that distributed free medications en masse in a major push to eliminate the disease. He is a key figure in the elimination drive, which has resulted in about 80 percent of the country being cleared of lymphatic filariasis. Only 22 of 140 communes still face with active transmission.
Zika, malaria, dengue, and cholera are the focal pathogens of a second project Beau de Rochars is involved with centered upon a cohort of 6,000 Haitian school children in Gressier, Haiti. Students are provided routine care, and samples are collected from febrile patients and tested for mosquito-borne illnesses or other emerging diseases such as cholera. This framework allows for the discovery of emerging infections such as Zika and madariaga virus, and also allows for Beau De Rochars and his team to protect the students’ families and communities by teaching how to avoid spreading infections.
“There is a big problem with chronic diseases in my country, such as high blood pressure -- which is a silent killer -- and diabetes,” Beau De Rochars says. “My contribution for now is to bring my voice for many of these people with no voice, in continuing to advocate for them and to educate them in lifestyle changes.”
Beau de Rochars earned his medical doctorate from State University in Haiti, and a masters of public health from Emory University. In his spare time, he is deeply active with his faith. He enjoys pursuing scripture studies, and cites his faith as the source of his strength and drive.
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