PD Practitioners & Facilitators

PD Practitioners

PD Practitioners are individuals who have experience training organizations in the PD approach in a given sector, have implemented a PD informed project or have carried out participatory action research using the PD concept.


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diane baik: consultant

Diane Baik is a consultant with over eight years of applying the positive deviance approach in the areas of health and nutrition. She has worked with World Vision and World Bank on various projects. 

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samir chaudhuri: director, child in need institute (Cini)

Samir Chaudhuri is the director of the Child In Need Institute with expertise in nutrition, mother & child health, adolescent health & nutrition, and child protection. He has worked with CINI, UNICEF, Dept. of Women & Child, and the government of West Bengal, India and has over 25 years of experience with the PD approach. 


lucia dura: academic and consultant

Lucia Dura is an academic and consultant with areas of expertise in qualitative methods and evaluation with the positive deviance approach. She has prior experience implementing positive deviance in the areas of vulnerable populations, education, healthcare, and most recently, correctional prison populations. She has worked in many countries, including the United States, Uganda, and Indonesia. 

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David gasser: Consultant

David Gasser has been interviewed for numerous Positive Deviance publications for his abilities to apply the positive deviance approach in diverse areas like the private sector, public agencies, health-care and education. David works as a consultant and has been applying the positive deviance approach for over 12 years.


Ahmet Günes: Consultant

Ahmet Günes own his own company, Günes Consulting, where he has worked in applying the positive deivance approach for over eight years. He has worked in the private sector, in education, and with children with his own company as well as with PD Academy. 


Inger winther johannsen: consultant

Inger W. Johannsen is a partner at PD Academy based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She brings over five years of experience to the positive deviance approach and has extensive knowledge working in sectors like vulnerable populations and education. She has worked with institutions for institutionalized children, and the Danish Refugee Council among others.

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siaka konate

Siaka Konate is an independent consultant on the use of the Positive Deviance approach in West Africa. Born and raised in Mali, Siaka has worked for Save the Children US and trained numerous organizations on the use of the approach to combat childhood malnutrition and scaled his approach to over 387 communities around Africa.

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F. James Levinson: Research professor, tufts university

F. James Levinson has been practicing positive deviance since the early 1980s and has decades of experience applying positive deviance in the nutrition realm. He has worked with UNICEF, USAID, and the World Bank in many regions around the world including South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Jane lewis: consultant, trainer, facilitator

Jane Lewis is a consultant that has worked with the government, third sector, universities, and commercial companies through a social enterprise organization. She has over nine years of experience with the PD approach and has many publications dedicated to the approach.


dileep Kumar malhi: project manager

Dileep Kumar is a USAID-funded project manager who has worked with organizations like HANDS and RSPN on positive deviance related projects including a polio eradication program and a maternal and child health program. He has over four years of experience implementing the positive deviance approach.

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nobuyuki ota: management consultant

Nobuyuki Ota is a Partner at Valeocon Management Consulting with expertise in applying Positive Deviance to the private sector. He has worked with PD Japan in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region and has been applying the positive deviance approach for over four years.

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muhammad shafique: BEHAVIOR change communication specialist

Muhammad Shafique is a specialist in communication and behaviour change with areas of expertise in malaria and dengue prevention and control, maternal and newborn health, and polio eradication. He has worked with Malaria Consortium, Save the Children, and Merlin organzations and in many countries, including Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Pakistan.

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anirudra sharma: consultant

Anirudra Sharma is a positive deviance professional with experience in nutrition work in South Asia and Nepal. He has used the positive deviance approach for over four years with organizations like Save the Children and UNICEF.

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christina shoemaker simmons: consultant

Christina Shoemaker Simmons is a consultant with areas of expertise in education, immigrant accultration, public health and pacific islanders. She has worked extensively in Hawaii, United States with social services and schools and community groups while applying the positive deviance approach for over seven years. 

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angela sims: consultant

Angela Sims is a consultant with experience in the public sector, communities, and not-for-profit. She has worked primarily in the United Kingdom with Woodward Lewis and Hidden Insights while applying the positive deviance approach for over thirteen years. 


Monique Sternin: Consultant and Professor (Tufts University)

Monique Sternin is one of the pioneers of the PD approach and has worked closely with diverse communities and organizations worldwide to teach and implement the PD approach for over 20 years. Her work spans various sectors including education, public health, and displaced populations, among others


koichiro watanabe: consultant

Koichiro Watanabe is an independent consultant and board chairman of a NGO. He has experience applying the positive deviance approach to nutrition in Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Japan for over seven years.

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randa walkinson: consultant, adjunct professor at tufts university

Randa Wilkinson has worked with the Positive Deviance Initiative in many capacities and has used her experties in facilitating the positive deviance approach in diverse organizations and sectors. Randa has over fifteen years of experience in positive deviance in nutrition, healthcare, education and emergency relief. She has worked in the United States, Western and Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.


cole zanetti: family and preventative medicine physician

Cole Zanetti is a physician with areas of expertise in healthcare and specifically diabetes. He has worked extensively in New Hampshire, United States with the Positive Deviance Initiative while applying the positive deviance approach for over two years.

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PD Facilitators

This section of the website profiles people who champion the PD approach - people who have used the approach to successfully improve the lives of others.



Dr. Arvind Singhal 

Dr. Arvind Singhal describes himself as a sense maker and amplifier of positive deviance. Dr. Singhal has been involved with the in-depth documentation of the positive deviance approach in MRSA prevention and control at the VA hospital system in Pittsburgh and the Billings Clinic in Montana. Dr. Singhal has also been involved with PD projects related to child trafficking in Indonesia and the re-integration of girl soldiers in Uganda. Dr. Singhal has also co-created six PD Wisdom Series publications in collabo¬ration with the PDI, as well as three short PD films which are featured on the PDI website. Dr. Singhal has served as a co-facilitator of numerous PD meetings, has guided several graduate theses on positive deviance, and has raised the “volume” on PD in his courses, lectures, and keynotes in the past six years.

Dr. Singhal has also published a string of academic articles related to PD including the most recent article in Health CommunicationCommunicating What Works! Applying the Positive Deviance Approach in Health Communication. Singhal is co-author or editor of 11 books, including two books related to PD - Protecting Children from Exploitation and Trafficking: Using the Positive Deviance Approach (2009) and Inviting Everyone: Healing Healthcare through Positive Deviance which was published in 2010. Dr. Singhal will be a featured guest lecturer in the first PD Certificate course, “Positive Deviance: Theory, Method, and Process,” which begins in January 2011. In the audio interview, Dr. Singhal discusses how he was introduced to PD, explains the PD projects that he has been (and is currently) involved in, and shares his ideas about the future of PD. In the video interview, Dr. Singhal explains PD in his own words, shares a favorite PD story, and explains what appeals to him most about the PD approach. 

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Siaka Konate

Siaka Konate is an independent consultant on the use of the Positive Deviance approach in West Africa. Born and raised in Mali, Siaka was working for Save the Children US as a field program officer on a child survival grant when he participated in the first PD training in Mali in 1999. Siaka went on to participate in numerous trainings and workshops on the PD approach in West Africa and trained numerous organizations on the use of the approach to combat childhood malnutrition.

Siaka has worked with numerous NGOs such as World Vision, Save the Children, US, Medecins du Mali, Voisins Mondiaux and Plan International, perfecting his training skills and techniques to bring the PD approach to over 387 communities in Mali, Cameroun, Senegal and Burkina Faso.

Siaka remains completely dedicated to his PD work and the PD approach which he hopes to apply to other public health and environmental issues in West Africa.


Djibril Cisse

Deputy Country Director /Helen Keller International Senegal, Dr. Cissé holds a PhD in Food and Nutrition, and brings over 15-years of professional experience in coordinating and managing health and nutrition programs. Prior to joining HKI in 2005 as Nutrition Program Coordinator, Dr. Cissé was the Nutrition Program Officer under USAID’s BASICS II, and was responsible for the conception and implementation of nutrition activities including support to the Food, Nutrition and Child Survival Division (DANSE) of the Ministry of Health in Senegal. With this position he played a key role in promoting the PD/hearth model approach in Senegal.

Dr. Cissé also served as the Supervision Officer for the Senegalese Community Nutrition Project, a World Bank-funded project. At the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal, Dr. Cissé held the position of Training and Research Assistant. He obtained his Masters and DEA degrees in Natural Sciences from the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal, followed by his PhD. Dr. Cissé is member of many nutrition committees, and is the author of several reports and publications on food and nutrition. He has participated in many national and international capacity building conferences and trainings. In 2005, he received a diploma in Project Management from the Department of Economic Planning and Organizational Management at the National School for Applied Economics (ENEA) in Senegal. Dr. Cissé is a Senegalese national and is fluent in Wolof, French and English.

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Jon Lloyd

Jon Lloyd is a senior clinical advisor for Plexus Institute and is a Senior Associate at the Positive Deviance Initiative (PDI). Jon earned his MD Degree from the University of Utah School Of Medicine, completed training in general, thoracic and vascular surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and was director of the Surgical Residency Program and the University Surgical Service, when it was the only trauma center in Pittsburgh. 

In July 2004, he became Pittsburgh Project Coordinator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System to work on a community-wide effort to eliminate endemic Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The MRSA prevention model that emerged out of this collaborative effort in Southwestern Pennsylvania resulted in grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the federal Agency for Health Research and Quality to support healthcare organizations in the U.S. and Canada in using Positive Deviance (PD) as a cultural approach to fight healthcare acquired infections. Dr. Lloyd is currently coaching several of these hospitals and is also applying PD to the problems of youth violence and the twenty five year disparity in longevity that affects people with serious mental illness.

In this brief Q&A Jon discusses how he became involved in using the PD approach in his work, the work that he is currently involved in, and what excites him most about the PD approach. 

(Photo by: David F. Gasser)

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Michael Gardam

Michael Gardam is the Director for Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control at the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion. Michael is a PD Champion for the reduction of the hospital-acquired infection MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Within Canada, he has helped a number of hospitals control outbreaks and develop their infection control programs. Michael has said that the PD approach inspired a 180 degree change in the way that he thinks about the process of finding solutions. We recently asked Michael a few important questions about his PD work related to MRSA.

Q&A with Michael Gardam

Q: When and how did you learn about PD, and why did you feel compelled to begin using it in your work?
A: I first heard about PD a couple of years ago through work I was doing with our national patient safety initiative, Safer Healthcare Now! trying to control MRSA. I must confess that the first time I heard it described, I really didn’t understand it at all. I subsequently was lucky enough to meet Curt Lindberg and Keith McCandless at other meetings and slowly began to understand what it was all about. PD completely won me over at the “PD Beyond MRSA” meeting I was at just over a year ago in Baltimore: there was one particular story about medical residents needing a place to hang their coats and coat hooks that caused PD to finally click in my head.  

To me PD was a revelation. For the past decade I had been smacking my head against the wall out of frustration trying to control healthcare associated infections. Its “bottom up” approach was completely foreign to everything I had learned in medicine and infection control. Once I understood it though, and saw the success the US beta sites had in controlling MRSA, I was hooked. It became obvious that this was the approach needed to deal with the elephant in the room, namely that while healthcare workers know in theory how to prevent these infections, we don’t do it very well as a group.

Q: What PD related work are you currently involved in and how PD has changed the way that you approach your work?
A: I am involved with two PD projects. The first is with my own hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, where we are the lone Canadian member of the Indianapolis PD project (and thanks to Curt Lindberg for inviting us to join). The second is a six hospital research study that is funded by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, government, and industry partners. Here in Toronto, we have also struck a PD in the community interest group and are planning for a larger conference later this year.

We are currently applying for funding to be able to bring PD to any Canadian healthcare organization that would be interested. 

PD has fundamentally changed how I approach infection control. Just this morning at a meeting, some frontline healthcare workers asked me what would be the most appropriate way of tackling the spread of “superbugs” on the wards. Whereas before I would have told them what they need to do, I now throw it back to them, asking for them to explore their own ideas.

Q: How have you begun to share the PD approach with others? 
A: We’ve been spreading PD through webinars, conferences, and word of mouth. Frankly, I’ll pretty much talk about PD anywhere, anytime! The spread of PD has greatly benefited from the participation of Liz Rykert, who has been our coach and mentor. In the future, we hope to get far more sophisticated in our use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.   

Q: What makes you excited about the PD approach?
A: PD makes so much intuitive sense. I have seen it in action in our hospital and have seen the remarkable results it can achieve. It has the power to bring about sustained change, truly by allowing participants to act their way into a new way of thinking.   For myself, it has enabled me to see a way out of our chronic problem of spreading infections in hospitals.  

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Muhammad Shafique

Muhammad Shafique is a Behavior Change Communications (BCC) expert with over 10 years of experience. Having worked on a multitude of health education projects mainly in Pakistan and Myanmar (Burma), he is a strong advocate of the ‘Positive Deviance’ (PD) approach and has designed and implemented PD projects for a variety of important health issues. His rich experience and success in this field has led him to be a facilitator for the PD approach throughout Asia.

“To me, positive deviance is a very effective behaviour change and community mobilization approach which highlights and appreciates the positive behaviours of the community members, thus respecting their indigenous knowledge and culture, which ensures the acceptability and ownership of the approach. PD believes that community members are the best experts of their areas issues and problems, and that with some facilitation they can find out the solutions of their pervasive problem from within the community. People can easily adopt the behaviors of a positive deviant of their own community since the behaviors are local and easily accessible. It is so rewarding to visit the communities after implementation of the PD approach and see how happy the people are with the positive changes they made in their lives,” Shafique says.

Growing up in Lahore, Pakistan, with six brothers and sisters, Muhammad Shafique always had a flair for communication and a desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives. A Masters in Sociology at the University of Punjab in Lahore paved the way for a career in community development, mobilization and BCC for various organizations. Currently he is working in Burma for Merlin, a UK based medical relief agency, and is particularly proud of his use of the positive deviance approach on maternal and child health there. In fact, his strategies are so obviously successful that other international NGOs have asked if they could use his methods and materials.

Muhammad Shafique looks forward to spreading the positive deviance approach throughout the world. “I would like to use my experience of this approach in both Pakistan and Myanmar to show people through many “positive examples” of positive deviance work, just how effective this technique is. It would be great to see positive deviance used as a standard approach in situations where communities are facing various health related problems.”

When Muhammad Shafique is not working with communities and implementing creative and successful BCC campaigns, he is a devoted family man. “My wife and three children help me to be even more flexible and creative; it’s great for my job.” Shafique is currently woking for Merlin, a UK based NGO in Myanmar and will join the Regional Malaria Consortium in Bangkok.