Ted and Connie Ning to be honored for global health contributions

Written by Staff Editor on .

On Friday, October 14th, Connie and Ted Ning will be honored at the 2016 Global Health Symposium for having made a significant and exemplary contribution to the sustained improvement of the health of multiple populations over an extended period of time in a global health setting.  The symposium is being held at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.  

Following is a statement published by the Global Health Symposium regarding the award:

Meet the 2016 Excellence in Global Health Award Recipients: Theodore C Ning, MD, FACS & Constance C Ning, RPT, MA

Connie and Ted met at Northwestern University Medical School where she completed her physical therapy degree and he his medical degree. They were married in his senior year and dreamed of opportunities to work as a couple in Latin America.

Dr. Ning was drafted after his internship and sent to Vietnam as a US Army doctor. During this unique year, he was involved with many rural development projects including orphanage support. After his return, Connie and Ted helped start an international adoption agency to support orphanages in Vietnam.

Connie later received a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado and a Diploma in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Karl Menninger Institute. Ted completed his urology residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He had a private practice but continued his interest in the urology residency training program over many years eventually attaining the rank of Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery (Urology) which he still holds.

In 1988, Ted and Connie returned to Vietnam and after seeing the war-related poverty of the country founded Friendship Bridge (FB). The organization began as a medical relief project with over 15 projects. Over 400 American volunteers donated their time to participate in these projects.

Connections were made between many major teaching institutions in Hanoi and Saigon and major medical centers in the US. Of the original projects, 5 continue to operate today.

By 1992, FB changed its focus to rural community development. Rural childhood malnutrition was overwhelming in Vietnam and was the underlying problem for many medical conditions. FB discovered women as the center of development. In looking for income generation models to sustain programs, they discovered the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and began a replication project in Vietnam. FB combined the education of women in preventive health (including malnutrition) and the loan program. With Nike, Inc. funding, the Women’s Microcredit and Education program reached self-sustainability with 5300 clients by 2000. This program has been used extensively throughout Vietnam.

In 1998, FB created a similar program in the Western Highlands of Guatemala within rural Mayan communities. The project currently has 29,000 women borrowers. Like the Vietnam microcredit project, this project provides non-formal education (business training, women’s empowerment, health topics, leadership training, et al.) to the borrowers).

In 2007, Ted and Connie started another organization, Starfish One By One. This program is creating the next generation of women leaders. Upon completion of primary school, girls begin a special weekly program. In groups of 15, they meet with a Mayan mentor who helps them create goals. To date 105 girls have graduated from high school. Many are enrolled at nearby universities. This is an incredible achievement when you realize that many of their mothers have not attended school and do not speak Spanish.

Ted received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters by the University of Colorado Board of Regents in 2007. He was also Board member during the creation of the Center of Global Health in 2004 and has been a frequent presenter at previous Global Health Conferences.

For more information about the Nings, read profiles previously published using the following links:

Ning, Dr. Theodore C., Jr.

Ning, Constance C.