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In Memoriam: Merle A. Sande, MD (1939-2007)

In Memory of Accordia's Visionary Co-Founder

In 2007, Accordia lost a dear friend, colleague, and mentor. Dr. Merle Sande passed away after a long and courageous struggle with cancer. Everyone associated with Accordia has a story to tell about the day Merle Sande inspired us to do something truly great. The long list of Merle’s outstanding accomplishments does not stop at what he himself was able to do.  It continues to include some of what all of us have achieved, and will achieve, with his urging, through his encouragement, and at his insistence. Merle’s enthusiasm was a source of inspiration for his friends and family, his colleagues, and countless others who were fortunate to know him even briefly.

Merle was not just a visionary; he was an impatient visionary. He could see a better future and wanted to take the practical steps to bring it about as quickly as possible in order to relieve suffering. Merle envisaged the profound long-term benefits that could result from strengthening academic medical institutions and building healthcare capacity to overcome the burden of HIV and other infectious diseases in Africa.

In 2001, Merle created the Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa to build capacity to fight the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa. In 2003, he partnered with other visionaries to create Accordia Global Health Foundation (originally known as the Academic Alliance Foundation) to sustain that vision. What he and the other dedicated members of the Academic Alliance accomplished in six short years—a legacy on which Accordia continues to build upon today—is nothing short of astounding.

In 2004, under Merle’s guidance, Accordia Global Health Foundation and our partners established the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University (IDI) in Kampala, Uganda. IDI serves as our model for a sustainable, locally owned, regional center of excellence in health, transforming the quality of care across the continent.

In 2006, in recognition of his pioneering work in Africa, Merle was honored by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni with the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for contribution to healthcare in Uganda.

As president of Accordia, Dr. Merle Sande inspired the support of a range of individuals, corporations, and foundations for Accordia’s and IDI's work. Discontent with those achievements, Merle took the lead in making IDI an enduring institution with an extraordinary gift of $1 million to fund its first endowed chair, again demonstrating his enormous dedication to perpetuating the success of his dream.

Merle will be remembered with affection and respect by the thousands of people throughout the world whom he inspired and motivated. His life, his energy, his vision, and his legacy will live on in the tens of thousands of lives he helped save in the USA, in Uganda, and in Africa.

The Merle A. Sande Memorial Fund

A memorial fund was established in Dr. Sande’s honor at Accordia by the Sande family in 2007. To make a donation to the Merle A. Sande Memorial Fund please click here or call Accordia at +1-202-534-1200 to process a credit card donation over the phone. Alternatively, you can mail a gift to:

The Merle A. Sande Memorial Fund
c/o Accordia Global Health Foundation
1825 Connecticut Ave. NW
Suite 630
Washington, DC 20009

Accordia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. (IRS #04-3774897).