Fr. Thomas Streit, CSC Associate Professional Specialist

Disease Control and Elimination
Fr. Thomas Streit, CSC

Research Interests:

Fr. Streit is founder and Principal Investigator of the University of Notre Dame’s Haiti Program. A 1980 graduate of the University, Streit received theological and pastoral training at Moreau Seminary, and was ordained in Sacred Heart in 1986.

Based on the research and community trials conducted in Haiti and elsewhere, the World Health Assembly in 1997 called for the global eradication of LF. More commonly known for the horrific sequellae of infection and the suggestive name elephantiasis—the condition joined four other global health problems now slated for elimination or eradication. Joining the Notre Dame faculty in 1997, Fr. Streit established the University’s Haiti Program, placing Notre Dame in a position to apply the fruits of academic research to the field in a fashion students and alums could participate in, and which would also express in a unique way the University’s response to the Gospel call of service to the least. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and partners have awarded Notre Dame a total of nearly $20 million in grants to build a program for LF elimination in Haiti which serves as a model for other countries. Under Notre Dame’s leadership and with the collaboration of the U.S. CDC, Haitian government and others, the program treated up to 8.6 million annually, while providing critical secondary benefits to the poorest and most health-deprived population in the Americas. Among the leveraged benefits: raising the I.Q. of the troubled country . . . something that might help its people succeed in the face of a tortured history.

Fr. Streit has also been involved in Haiti and the Dominican Republic on work regarding transmission and the epidemiology of malaria, dengue and Chikungunya viruses, leprosy and Helicobacter pylori gastritis.

 

Biography:

  • Assoc Prof of the Practice, Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
  • Guest Researcher, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Immunology & Molecular Biology Branch, DPD / NCID, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH Training Grant Program in Molecular Cell Biology of Parasites & Vectors, Department of Cellular Biology, University of Georgia
  • N.I.H. Predoctoral Trainee, Parasitology and Vector Biology, Public Health Service training grant to University of Notre Dame
  • Visiting Professor, Division of Applied, Natural & Social Science, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Rector, Morrissey Hall, University of Notre Dame
  • Ph.D., Vector Biology and Arbovirology, University of Notre Dame 1994
  • M.S., Vector Biology and Arbovirology, University of Notre Dame 1991
  • M.Div., University of Notre Dame 1985

 

Selected Professional Activities:

Dr. Streit has been keenly interested in promoting science as a tool in service to better the public health of the poor and neglected. In this regard, he has worked to leverage the faith-based and humanitarian impulses of college students and volunteer “mission” medical professionals in Haiti. Helping these individuals bring change to the status of millions entails simply working so that the standards of colleagueship with in-country professionals and co-workers includes emphasis on systematic and overt efforts to develop local, and therefore more sustainable capacities in-country. And to highlight the practical benefits of health work driven by compassion. To this end, the Notre Dame team, together with donors and collaborators, have constructed and developed a residential training center, which, in conjunction with three hospitals, the local catholic university, and three in-patient sanatoria have trained more than 20,000 Haitians in public health, scientific and administrative aspects of disease control and eradication, offered certificate courses in entrepreneurship in conjunction with the university, developed business plans, and conducted micro lending programs which are piloting small business activities with multiple, significant clinical and public health benefits.