Catherine Briggs

Hello - I have certainly appreciated reading the introductions that

others have shared, thank you.

Here is my introduction to join the others in this very interesting and

worthwhile endeavor that you have initiated.


Residence: Sudbury, Massachusetts (just west of Boston, no. of

Framingham, so. of Concord)

(We also have a small flat at the Barbican in London)


Place of work:

My husband and I started a nonprofit organization called

"Population Initiatives For Peace" (PIFP) while living in London three years back,

and it still is centered there because we have been lucky enough to receive

funding from the European Union. We would probably be living there full-time if

it weren't that our son really wanted to go to the High School here in

Sudbury that his brother attended - he has 3 more years here so we are working

out a way to do that.

Since our work so far has been limited to the Middle East/North

African region, and my husband is from that area (Tunisia - and thus speaks

Arabic which I unfortunately still have not learned), he is the one who at

present does about 80-90% of the necessary travel-related work and I do things

that are related to research, proposal writing, strategic planning,

documentation, materials development, etc. IN SUM, I guess my place of work right now

is mainly in Massachusetts (with connections in London) but my mind is

often in Gaza, the West Bank, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria! (places

where we have worked or are working now)


Background/Education: Attended the University of California Berkeley,

then the USF School of Medicine. Trained in Pediatrics and Public Health.

Worked for a time in clinical pediatrics, then in general public health in

various county/state/international agencies.


Professional turning-points:

1)While working in Tunisia as a pediatrician (we lived there 4 years in

the 70's) it became clear to me that the children in the children's

hospital there were nearly all there for preventable diseases - mainly

malnutrition and infections or a combination... I decided I wanted to work

"upstream" further (ie the adage of preventing people from falling in the river

further upstream rather than catching them when drowning..) so I went to work

at the country's Institute of Nutrition as Chief of Nutrition Education

and had a rewarding experience there.


2) Then on return to the U.S. I again did clincial pediatrics at a

hospital in Oakland and enjoyed it (all the while learning about confronting

episodes of child abuse and neglect up close and personal) - BUT I noticed that

I really preferred to be in on program and policy matters affecting

children's health city-wide. That's when I really made the final switch to public

health. I have worked in child health programs, injury prevention programs,

chronic disease prevention programs, a preventive medicine training program,

family planning programs, and school health programs, as well as working in



3) Attending the Beijing Women's Conference/NGO Forum last September in

China (more later on that I 'spose, it might take too long here!<s>)


So in sum I am a person interested in the health of families all over

the world - with regional interests in the middle east - and with a strong

focus on how we can PREVENT injuries, ill health (both physical and emotional

health), and avoidable and too-early deaths. Thinking within the context of this

group, (and this is a raison d'etre of our PIFP organization too) I believe,

however, that people cannot focus on, or be empowered to fulfill, the ideal of

preventive health care when they are faced with conflict, war and violence of any

kind. Thus, my interest in working in parallel on peace,

conflict-resolution, and violence prevention issues.


I think that sums up why I am happy to join with this group and think

about the problem of "what is this world coming to" - and ways to help spread

the word about what is already known about the prevention of both

inter-personal as well as societal violence.


P.S. Personal addendum:

We also have two older sons: Jon - an environmental chemist who is

working in Salt Lake City, and Alex, who will be in his 3rd year of law school

this year, well on his way to working in his chosen field: international

environmental law.


AND I have two fantastic sisters who I might try to get involved here.

One has joined with me to co-found our own nonprofit called "Women's Health

International" which will focus on women's empowerment re health information and

knowledge, and hopes to help support networks of women's groups working in

partnership around post - Beijing health issues (which definitely include violence

against women). My other sister is a musician/composer who lives in LA who will

eventually also be working with us on WHI (for one thing, doing the music for a CD

Rom we have in mind!).


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