Personal Journey

Competencies & Projects



Welcome to the Doctoral Portfolio of Kimberly McWhorter

An avid naturalist, lover of science, herpetology, history and a driven humanitarian spirit, I was attracted to the field of Public Health. Currently, I am in the Dr PH program for Public Health Policy and Leadership at Loma Linda University. The planned topic of my dissertation is 'Finding Solutions for Neglected Public Health Issues Through Relationship Building, Collaboration and Nonprofit/Institutional Partnerships'. For research and data collection I will be a participant observer of the Animal Venom Research International Sri Lanka Antivenom Project.

The ‘perfect fit’ for all of my passions has been Animal Venom Research International (AVRI). I met this small group of energized individuals who wanted to do something about the extraordinary numbers of people dying in the developing world due to snakebite envenomation. Deaths from snakebite envenomation are almost entirely an economic problem. For example, Australia has more deadly venomous snakes than practically any other land mass on earth, but they only have about 2 deaths per year from snakebite. Compare this to the small island nation of Sri Lanka, which records about 1000 deaths per year (based solely on hospital admissions) and 40,000 bites annually.

AVRI was herpetology, public health and international travel combined. I couldn’t have put together a better combination in my dreams for a project to volunteer my time with! Having worked in the non-profit sector, I knew how to help AVRI in getting together what they needed to become a credible organization. When I started, AVRI was not a legal corporation or nonprofit organization and they had no idea how to start this process or even why it was important. I completed all the necessary paperwork for becoming a nonprofit recognized under Federal Tax Code 501 (C) 3 and with the State of California. AVRI was officially awarded nonprofit status in July 2010, retroactive to December 2008, when we incorporated in California.

In addition to working on the legal aspects of forming our nonprofit corporation, I am on the Executive Board as a Director, Treasurer- in a primary decision making role, and have built our website and social networking sites. In my role as treasurer I keep track of our finances, including completing the tax reporting requirements, with the help of our accountant each year. In partnership with our Executive Director, Roy Malleappah, we have built our Executive Board and Advisory Board to include some of the most talented individuals researching snakebite envenomation from around the globe. Our titles have more to do with the legal structure of our organization than any hierarchy and all on the Executive Board share equal responsibilities. I have also headed much of the networking and collaborative partnerships between AVRI and our academic partners outside Sri Lanka, with independent researchers in the United States and Venezuela and our partnership with Instituto Clodomiro Picado (ICP) of the University of Costa Rica.