A West Virginia University professor is using words and action to help Africans suffering from AIDS.

Dr. Presha Neidermeyer, a faculty member in WVU’s College of Business and Economics, is the co-author of a book, “Use What You Have,” which discusses the obstacles to AIDS treatment in Africa, and it’s not just scarce medical care.

Lack of leadership and an absence of strategies that could create the cultural changed needed to fight the disease contribute to the problems as well, she says.

“When people think of HIV/AIDS it is fairly obvious how medical personnel can help, Neidermeyer said, “However, few people consider that running a non-profit, whether a clinic or child-care center, requires business skills, too.”

Neidermeyer, and co-author Dr. Roger W. Hoerl of GE Global Research and Development, believe that the AIDS epidemic can be conquered, but not by financial aid alone.

The book title, based on a quote from a Ugandan AIDS activist, has also inspired Neidermeyer to lead a spring semester trip to South Africa where WVU business students will work for a non-profit agency as part of an honors class. Student volunteers will use the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to help the agency with accounting, information technology, marketing and management. Most importantly, the arrangement will best serve the agency’s clients.

“Business students can be immensely useful to the non-profits who are helping vast numbers of people cope with the disease and the familial situations that arise as a result of it,” Neidermeyer said.

Neidermeyer, who teaches international accounting, is leading her first student trip to Africa as a WVU faculty member. While at Union Graduate College, she led several similar trips. The experience left her with a strong desire to involve students in this area of philanthropy.

The goal of the book and the class, she said, is to show individuals how they can play a part in the resolution to a crisis through collaboration.

“Without names and faces to go along with them, the statistics on the dead and dying are just numbers; with names and faces, they present a call to action. Africa changes your world view,” she said.


ds 11/30/09

CONTACT: Dr. Presha Neidermeyer
(304) 293-7858, Presha.Neidermeyer@mail.wvu.edu