2007 – Monique & Jerry Sternin

In by Marc Pitre

As a team, Monique and Jerry Sternin pioneered the community-based application of the Positive Deviance approach to nutrition and to other health interventions. Monique and Jerry Sternin have been highly influential within the PVO community, articulating a community-focused asset approach to development based on local wisdom. As staff members of Save the Children, the Sternins piloted and scaled-up the PD/Hearth Approach to demonstrate its success in sustainably reducing malnutrition of children. Their groundbreaking work in Vietnam has served as a model for rehabilitating thousands of malnourished children in over 20 countries.

Jerry Sternin was a former Assistant Dean of Students at Harvard University Business School, and a Save the Children Director in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Viet Nam, Egypt and Myanmar. Jerry also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, associate director in Nepal and as a Peace Corps Director in Mauritania and Rwanda. Jerry was currently a visiting scholar at Tufts University, teaching and directing the Positive Deviance Initiative, a Ford funded project to document and share information on global PD projects, to explore new PD applications, and to expand the cadre of PD practitioners and trainers.

Monique Sternin has worked in development since 1985 in Bangladesh, Egypt, Viet Nam, and Myanmar. Together with Jerry, she further developed and expanded upon the application of the positive deviance approach to maternal and newborn care, HIV/AIDS risk reduction and in advocacy against Female Genital Cutting. She currently works as a visiting scholar and co-director of the PD Initiative at Tufts University. As consultants, both Sternins have trained many CORE Group member and other organizations in Bolivia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Ethiopia and Senegal to implement the Positive Deviance approach in nutrition and in Pakistan and Ethiopia for maternal and newborn care.

In addition to providing technical support to organizations using the PD approach to improve maternal and children’s health, both are currently facilitating the use of the PD approach to eradicate and prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in U.S. hospitals under a Robert Wood Johnson funded pilot involving 5 Beta sites hospitals and 15 partner hospitals, as well as a pilot project with the VA Healthcare System and a regional initiative in Maryland with the Delmarva Foundation.

Jerry Sternin passed away in December 11, 2008.