It's the rare psychologist who gets to trade intellectual bon mots with international luminaries such as Bono, Al Gore, Tony Blair, both Clintons and Steve Jobs. But, after Chris E. Stout, PsyD, was named one of the World Economic Forum's 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow in 2000--a group of world leaders under age 40 who have demonstrated socially responsible leadership--he was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for three years running.
"You never really know why you get invited," jokes Stout. "My impression was that it was a mistake."
But there's no mistaking Stout's passion for integrating psychology with public health around the world. Since the early '90s, Stout has been bringing health and psychological assistance to children and families in countries such as Vietnam, Rwanda and Peru. Building on his former work as a child psychologist, his involvement in global health projects, the time he spent at the United Nations as part of APA's nongovernmental organization and the connections he made in Davos, Stout founded the Center for Global Initiatives in 2004 to train health-care professionals and students to create sustainable programs.
"We develop projects that can be handed off to locals," says Stout. The center's projects have included establishing a kindergarten in Tanzania for children orphaned by AIDS and providing health care to families living in Bolivian prisons.
Most recently, Stout brought a group of nurses, physicians and other health professionals to the center to design a project to train groups of Cambodian villagers in basic emergency medicine and first aid that can be used to stabilize injured people until they can get to a hospital.
Stout has further plans for the Bolivian prisons, where inmates' children live and go to school when there's no one else on the outside to care for them. The teachers there have no resources, so Stout is assembling child-friendly psychological and resiliency materials, children's books and parenting information. He plans to use center funds to send interested psychology grad students to the prisons to train the teachers to incorporate the materials.
Not as glamorous as Davos, but exactly where Stout wants to be.