Dr. David Cechetto

David CechettoProfessor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry), Director of Training, Support & Access Model for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Rwanda and Burundi

Office: 432 Medical Sciences Building
Phone: 519-661-4166
Fax: 519-661-3936
Email: david.cechetto@schulich.uwo.ca 

Dr. David F. Cechetto is a Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, and the Director of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Rwanda Project. Dr. Cechetto received his Master’s Degree from the University of Ottawa, PhD from the University of Western Ontario, post-doctoral training at Washington University, St. Louis and University of Chicago. He taught medical school in Lagos, Nigeria for one year, was on faculty at University of Chicago for 2 years, is currently Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology at Western and for the past 16 years has been director of development projects such as Rebuilding Health in Rwanda, Assessment of Health Care Quality in Rwanda, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Rwanda and Training, Support and Access Model for MNCH in Rwanda and Burundi.

For the last decade, Western has worked in the health sector in Rwanda in partnership with the Kigali Health Institute, the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Rwanda and the ministries of Health and Education on health professional education. In the Global Fund-funded assessment of health-care quality identified serious gaps in the ability of health professionals to treat many conditions in those areas. Since 2000, Dr. Cechetto has been working in collaboration with Rwandan health-care organizations as they rebuild the country’s health-care system after it was ravaged by war and the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

Building on a decade-long relationship, Western University educators, researchers and their partners in Rwanda have been collaborating towards the construction of a better health-care system for some of the most vulnerable members of the central African nation, including the redevelopment of nursing and medical education. As per the request of the Rwandan partners, the Canadian team was asked to collaborate with the local practitioners and officials in capacity building activities to address the existing gaps in maternal, newborn and childrens health by strengthening midwifery and pediatric nursing programs; developing continuing professional education programs; and policy development. Currently, Dr. Cechetto is directing a 4-year project funded by Global Affairs Canada in maternal newborn and child health in Rwanda and Burundi. This project includes training and mentoring programs for in-service health professionals as well as strengthening of pre-service pediatric nursing and midwifery programs.

In addition to his development work, Dr. Cechettho’s research interests are in the role of inflammation in cerebral ischemia and vascular cognitive impairment and dementia. He has developed animal models for the investigation of the combined effects of Alzheimer Disease and cerebral ischemia and other risk factors for vascular cognitive impairment such as diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis. He has also developed an agent with potential for the treatment of schizophrenia that targets a new unique class of receptors compared to current antipsychotic therapies. An additional area of research involves the examination of mental stress on cardiovascular reactivity (a risk factor for cardiovascular disease) and the regions of the human brain responsible for varying degrees of reactivity in individuals. He is the principle investigator on numerous basic neuroscience studies with clinical implications. He has consulted for companies such as Upjohn, Servier (French), Uriach (Spanish), and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals.

Selected Publications:

  • Hategekimana, C., J. Shoveller, L. Tuyisenge, C. Kenyon, D.F. Cechetto, L.D. Lynd. 2016. Correlates of performance of healthcare workers in Emergency, Triage, Assessment and Treatment plus Admission care (ETAT+) course in Rwanda: Context matters. Plos ONE Mar 31;11(3):e0152882.
  • Hategekimana, C. Shoveller, J., Tuyisenge, L., Kenyon, C., Cechetto, D.F., Lynd, L.D. 2017. Pediatric emergency care capacity in a low-resource setting: an assessment of district hospitals in Rwanda.PlosONE Mar 3;12(3):e0173233.
  • Nell, H.J., J.L. Au, C.R. Giordano, S.R. Terlecky, P.A. Walton, S.N. Whitehead and D.F.Cechetto. 2017. The targeted antioxidant, CAT-SKL, reduces beta-amyloid toxicity in the rat brain. Brain Pathol. Jan;27(1):86-94