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A Fitness Challenge for Global Health

To all of Erica’s friends, family, and followers:

Hi! My name is David Silbergeld. I have been close friends with Erica for many years now, and when I mentioned to her the details of a major upcoming event that I am participating in, she graciously offered to help out with fundraising by offering me the chance to write a guest blog on here (no beating around the bush, this post is in part about donations)! So, here’s a little bit about me, about what exactly this event is, and about why I’m doing it, and hopefully a few of you out there may deem it worth donating a few dollars for the cause (literally every penny counts!)…

david with a child

At the end of this month I will be participating in a cross-country bicycle trip, from San Diego to Washington, D.C., as part of a cycling team of medical students and other medical professionals raising funds for global health, sponsored by Ride for World Health, a 501(c)3 organization based in Columbus, OH.

About me: I am currently a fourth year MD/MPH student at Rutgers – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. I grew up in Seattle, Washington, before moving to New Jersey at the age of 16. I graduated from Georgetown University in 2007 with a BA in Chinese and a premedical concentration.  After college, I traveled to South Africa with the Peace Corps, where I was involved in a variety of projects – including children’s after-school programs, environmental NGOs, and crime prevention – but found a particular passion as a capacity builder with a home-based care organization, providing care for patients suffering from diseases ranging from hypertension and diabetes to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. My interest in world health continued through public health expeditions to Northern India and the Dominican Republic during medical school, and I plan to enter a residency in Family Medicine and to remain involved in global health throughout my career. I view the Ride for World Health as an opportunity to challenge myself physically and mentally, to form lasting relationships with medical students from around the country and, most importantly, to support an invaluable cause by asking interested people to sponsor my ride. I have never done a ride remotely like this, but have participated in nearly every team sport you can think of, and I enjoy the opportunity to push my limits doing crazy things like this.

Where the donations go: The organizations that will receive the funds raised through this year’s trip are “HEAL Africa,” “Empower and Advance,” and “PODEMOS.” HEAL Africa, founded over a decade ago by Congolese surgeon Jo Lusi and his wife Lyn, sponsors a full-service training hospital in Goma, Congo and community-based initiatives in public health, community development, and conflict resolution.  It helps to support a Congolese staff of 28 doctors, 54 nurses, 340+ community development educators, a small administrative team, and hundreds of Congolese volunteers. Our donation will go primarily towards women’s health including safe childbirth, fistula repair, and HIV and contraception education. Empower and Advance is an organization dedicated to empowering members of vulnerable communities. Their current project is an innovative curriculum to train secondary school graduates in Haiti to become Emergency Community Healthcare Workers. The Partnership for Ongoing Developmental, Educational, and Medical Outreach Solutions (PODEMOS) is a student-founded organization with the goal of developing international sites for outreach and clinical care where medical and health profession students can be involved in caring for and learning from patients from marginalized populations. PODEMOS initially identified three underserved communities in Honduras  with which to build sustainable partnerships and is working to develop medical-cultural exchanges in these sites.

If you would like to support my ride and these projects through a contribution, please visit where you will also find more information about the project and our itinerary.

Thank you all! And a huge thank you to Erica for her support!!!!

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