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Strong Beginnings: Bon Sel Initiative

The Bon Sel Initiative is part of the Notre Dame Global Center for Development of the Whole Child. This project improves childhood nutrition and educational outcomes by supplying micronutrient and an antifilarial, DEC, that prevents Lymphatic Filariasis, an endemic condition present in many communes of Haiti. Fortification adds vitamins and minerals to salt, so that foods are more nutritious, in a way that is easily integrated in the food chain.


Dave O’Brien is a Senior Advisor to the University of Notre Dame’s Bon Sel Initiative (BSI). Housed within the Global Center’s Social Enterprise Initiative, the BSI develops and implements a social-enterprise model to provide the country with fortified salt to prevent Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) and help eradicate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), a mosquito born disease that affects more than two million Haitians. BSI’s production facility in Port au Prince is the leading supplier of packaged, fortified salt, under its Bon Sel Dayiti brand name. Currently, Bon Sel Dayiti is the only food grade, iodized, and fortified salt produced in Haiti. The Bon Sel facility operates as a social enterprise with support from the University of Notre Dame and Cargill Salt, using commercial principles and marketplace strategies to address the pressing challenges of LF and IDD more effectively.
Prior to retirement, Dave served as a tax partner at Deloitte with extensive global leadership experience and a tenured track record of consistently delivering outstanding results for his business, his people, and clients. He is well known for a lifetime of community service. Dave also serves as an advisor to the Notre Dame chapter of Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations, a student-run organization that seeks to assist nonprofits by “empowering talented students with knowledge, training, and hands-on consulting experience.”
Dave is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Dave is based in Atlanta, Georgia where he resides with his wife, Amy.


Gezzer Ortega, MD, MPH, a Brooklyn native, born to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic, is the Lead Faculty for Research and Innovation for Equitable Surgical Care at the Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ortega is a health services researcher with a focus on developing and implementing solutions to address surgical inequities. Dr. Ortega is a Co-Founder of the Latino Surgical Society, which aims to cultivate, nurture, and support the advancement of Latino surgeons. Also, Geezer is a League of Intrapreneur Fellow.




10th October

5:30 pm CET

11:30 am EDT