Dr. Chris Stout The Unexpected Journey
Making the most of life laid the groundwork for a much higher calling.
Most of us chart our course in life to become successful or excel at something, making all the time and effort we’ve invested in obtaining it worthwhile. Great achievers deserve our accolades and often go on to do great things with the wealth of knowledge and skill they’ve attained. But sometimes, life has other plans setting one on a path of far greater significance. Such is the story of Dr. Chris Stout.
The Primer for Greater Things
To say Dr. Stout has achieved much in life is truly an understatement. As he puts it, “I seem to run a lot of stuff—non-profits, for-profits, ultras… In addition, I also consult to individuals, start-ups, and behemoths (read: Oracle, State of Illinois, etcetera, etcetera). I have a history of being a Chief/E/O/I/Officer with as many as 500 staff reporting to me.” He’s also an angel investor and runs an international consultancy firm.
His pursuits encompass financial management, engineering, real estate, executive coaching, but mainly the medical field. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and has served on the faculty of the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was an advisory board member to their Center of Global Health, and he led the Department of Clinical Research and Data Analytics for ATI for over a decade. He’s currently a Core Faculty in the graduate program focusing on International Psychology at The Chicago School. He has also taught at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Rush University. A Hartwick College study called him “one of the most frequently cited psychologists in the scientific literature.”
And to name a few more highlights from his illustrious career and a long list of achievements, he has served as an NGO special representative to the United Nations and was appointed by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce to the Board of Examiners for the Baldrige National Quality Award. He sits on advisory boards of numerous organizations and is named one of the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow. Even after winning five Humanitarian Awards and named in three Halls of Fame, he still does not rest on his laurels. “I’m intent on making a profound difference in the world before I am forcibly removed from it,” he says.
Destiny Comes Knocking
On his travels abroad, his experiences led to learning more about himself. He visited countries like Rwanda, Lebanon, Vietnam, Bolivia, and the West Bank, and the plight of the people he saw moved him. “I learned some hard truths, firsthand,” he reflects. He learned that over ten million children were left homeless due to conflicts and war. Over one million were orphaned, and ten million were psychologically traumatized.
Was he to witness the suffering of others only to be a bystander? A new compulsion stirred within him, something more than conquering another discipline; he had to do something meaningful for the forgotten. He felt blessed with many gifts and could make use of them to better the lives of those who had so little and needed so much. Dr. Stout began his new venture by founding a kindergarten in Tanzania for AIDS orphans and worked with their staff on special needs cases. Take a moment to view the wonderful work being done in Tanzania…
The Innovation Incubator
Dr. Stout founded and is the director of the Center for Global Initiatives, top-ranked as a healthcare nonprofit. The center has many ongoing projects helping the disadvantaged around the world in countries such as Cambodia, Benin, Bolivia, India, Tanzania, Uganda, Guatemala, and along the Amazon. Entirely operated by volunteers, all donations go to the center’s projects and operation.
Established with a noble mission in mind, the center helps create self-sustaining programs designed to facilitate access to healthcare in underserved communities worldwide. Dr. Stout sees health inequities on a global scale. He says, “Health is perhaps the ‘Most Common Denominator’ in a region’s potential for success as it is so intertwined with economic sustainability, eradicating poverty, preventing war, mitigating violence, and fostering social prosperity.”
First of Its Kind
The center is the first to provide multidisciplinary training in integrated global health services. Both medical and non-medical volunteers are encouraged to join the center, which helps them launch their projects using an open-source humanitarianism approach. By providing all the tools, research, and infrastructure needed under the center’s model, new humanitarians can launch their projects expeditiously without the worry of handling complicated finances, taxes, or operational concerns.
Dr. Stout’s award-winning three-volume set of The New Humanitarians provides a blueprint for visionaries and is part of the center’s library of essential reading. It gives valuable insight by taking a behind-the-scenes look into several humanitarian organizations, some who venture under dangerous conditions. He explains that “they have all felt a moral duty to serve as vectors of change.” Like Dr. Stout, theirs is a selfless mission, helping to empower people where the need is greatest.
The center is planning to establish a Consortium for Humanitarian Intervention. Comprised of medical schools, gradual programs, and global non-profits, it will connect multidisciplinary professionals with students to work collaboratively in an integrated and sustainable fashion manner in helping those in need.
A Rare Individual
In his spare time, Dr. Stout enjoys climbing to high places, deep diving in the ocean, long-distance running, and spending time with his wife and children. He also is a passionate biker and started STOUTengineering, where he tinkers in designing, restoring, customizing, and building motorcycles.
If we can glean a takeaway from Dr. Stout, it would be never to underestimate our potential and choose to do things of importance. He reminds us, “Who we are is formed by what good we do as much as what good we do forms who we are.” And always remember that “a life of service yields a life of no regrets.”
As a champion for social good, Dr. Stout will surely have no regrets. You can learn more about his work at drchrisstout.comand the Center for Global Initiatives at centerforglobalinitiatives.org. Be sure to check out his Living a Life in Full podcasts at alifeinfull.org.