Dr Marko Kerac
BSc MBBS DTM&H MPH PhD RNutr
Public Health Nutrition & Programme Director, Nutrition for Global Health MSc
I joined LSHTM in September 2014 as a clinical lecturer in public health nutrition. I am a medical doctor by background and have long been interested in global health. Early experiences included undergraduate projects in Yugoslavia, Guyana, and India (in and around Delhi; my first RCT in a Calcutta street clinic); post-qualification work in Serbia, Bosnia and UK.
I initially trained in paediatrics (MRCPCH) in Plymouth and London before leaving the NHS in 2003 to work at the College of Medicine, Malawi. Most of that life-changing year I spent on “MOYO” ward, Queen's Hospital, Blantyre, one of Africa’s biggest and busiest nutritional rehabilitation units. Following a 2004-5 LSHTM MSc (PHDC) I returned to Malawi from 2005-8 to work on a PhD - again combining clinical work and teaching alongside research.
From 2009-2014 I was a specialty registrar in public health in London. Academic posts, initially at UCL IGH and later as a NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at the UCL Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre allowed me to maintain and develop my international work.
I particularly enjoy supervising student projects and like to encourage policy/practice-relevant work which leads to experience presenting and publishing - adding to the far too sparse evidence-base underpinning my areas of research interest.
My focus is on acute malnutrition. I was especially fortunate to enter the field when it was undergoing major changes from a clinically-focused to a more public-health-orientated model of care, Community Management of Acute Malnutrition. I was then, and still remain, inspired by the many individuals and organizations behind those changes: developing the evidence using good quality operational research as well as more 'formal' studies; encouraging effective research-policy-practice dialogue; pursing what’s realistic as well as idealistic; being aware that ‘the best’ can too easily become be the enemy of 'the good’.
My main recent and current projects include:
- Management of Acute Malnutrition in Infants aged <6 months (MAMI) - Projects in Malawi and now just starting in Bangladesh are building on work colleagues and I first started in 2008. Our highlight to date is contributing to the WHO "Nutrition and Growth Advisory Group" that led to infants <6m, for the first time, being included in 2013 WHO Guidelines for the Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition.
- Chronic disease outcomes following Severe Acute Malnutrition (ChroSAM study) - Following a cohort of children first admitted to "Moyo" nutrition ward, Malawi in 2006/7.
- Improving the treatment of acute malnutrition - A number of projects including ones on: new formulation F75 milk; use of films in health; nutritional assessment and new assessment tools.
I am keen to explore interventions working across different disciplines (nutrition, health, mental health, social science, community & development work; behaviour change): viewing malnutrition not so much as a disease, but as a symptom of more complex underlying process and problems - at the level of the individual; within the carer-child relationship; within the wider family and community; within and between societies and countries.