Mathuram Santosham


Director Emeritus

I feel greatly inspired by the Native People, especially the Apache and Navajo, with whom I have worked for over 40 years. I also feel truly inspired by our dedicated staff both in the field and in Baltimore. We have the privilege of working with a unique group of individuals who care for each other. When I come to work or go to the reservation, I feel like I am coming to my second home. We are truly one family!

I can never forget the hundreds of children who used to die from diarrhea and the numerous children who either died or suffered the consequences of meningitis 35 years ago.  It is so wonderful to see that children don’t die of diarrhea or suffer from the most dreaded of all diseases—Hib meningitis. I can remember countless number of children arriving at the Whiteriver ER near death because of severe dehydration secondary to diarrhea but survived because of ORS. I can also never forget the many wakes that I attended of babies that died from these diseases. Fortunately, they don’t die of these diseases any more.

Every time, I go to the Apache reservation, I always have one or two moms come to me and say, “my mom told me that you took care of me when I was sick as a baby but now my children are healthy—thank you.” There is nothing more rewarding in life than to hear such statements.

Over the past 35 years, I have learned a lot from the Apache and Navajo populations. It has been a real privilege and honor to be associated with them.

JHSPH Faculty Page


Dr. Santosham is the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Center for Indigenous Health at the Johns Hopkins University. He holds Professorships in the Departments of International Health and Pediatrics. Dr. Santosham has worked with the White Mountain Apache and Navajo nations for over 40 years. His pioneering research on oral rehydration therapy and H.influenzae type b, conducted in partnership with these American Indian communities has helped to save over 50 million lives. 



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