Chatham University

Benter Initiative for Global Citizenship

Welcome to The Benter Initiative for Global Citizenship

The Benter Initiative for Global Citizenship enables Chatham University faculty and students to collaborate on and develop programs that encourage experiential learning, international citizenship and greater awareness of global issues through active participation in other cultures. The Benter Initiative for Global Citizenship was established in 2006 through a $1 million gift from William Benter, chairman and international CEO of Acusis Medical Transcription Services and son of Chatham alumna Dorothy Firth Benter ’45.

With global engagement as a key component of its mission, Chatham University worked in concert with Mr. Benter to create a program that would promote social responsibility and participatory citizenship among its students. Grants will be awarded to faculty members who will work with undergraduate or graduate students in experiential learning projects that promote engagement across cultures.


The Importance of Global Awareness at Chatham University

Over the past decade Chatham has internationalized the undergraduate, graduate and continuing education curricula. The Global Focus program, which explores a country or region of the world across the curriculum, received the Institute of International Education’s 2002-2003 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. The Heiskell Award is IIE’s Best Practice Award and recognized the University’s Year of the Communities of Islam.

To expand international understanding beyond the classroom and the campus, every Chatham sophomore is given the opportunity to participate in Chatham Abroad - a multi-week faculty-led travel opportunity exploring different areas of the world. This past year, faculty led trips to Belgium, Greece and Russia as part of a curriculum-based program. In addition, Chatham has forged relationships with several women’s colleges around the world including Doshisha Women’s College (Kyoto, Japan), Seoul Women’s University (Seoul, Korea) and Universidad Interamericana, to foster student and faculty exchanges as well as to enhance scholarly and cultural activities with these sister institutions.

Likewise, some of Chatham’s coeducational graduate programs offer field sessions in other parts of the world. Students from the Physician Assistant Studies program have traveled to Moldova in southeastern Europe to provide basic medical care, while students in the MFA in Creative Writing program have participated in field sessions to Costa Rica, India, New Zealand and Trinidad & Tobago.


2007 Benter Initiative Program

The first Benter Initiative grant recipient was Mary Jo Geyer, PT, Ph.D, FCCWS, CLT-LANA., assistant professor of physical therapy at Chatham and a wound and lymphedema specialist. Dr. Geyer and five students traveled to Vellore, India from August 26-September 16 to train faculty from Indian physical therapy programs that serve primarily Muslim populations. The Indian physical therapists were trained in multi-modal approaches for treatment of lymphedema, a consequence of the lymphatic filariasis that is endemic to this region. Faculty and students will also treat patients who suffer from lymphatic filariasis (LF), a condition caused by mosquito-borne parasites that commonly results in massively swollen legs.

There are in excess of 120 million people worldwide afflicted with the disease and in 1995 the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked LF as the second leading cause of chronic disability worldwide. One third of the people infected with the disease are in India, one third in Africa and the remainder in Southeast Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Dr. Geyer was also successful in linking The Benter Lymphedema Project to the second, morbidity management phase of the World Health Organization’s Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, which has become the largest public health campaign in the history of mankind.

For a detailed synopsis of the 2007 Benter Initiative, click here.


About William Benter

After a career in high technology entrepreneurial software development, Bill Benter executed his vision of creating a leading outsourced medical transcription organization with the inception of Acusis in 2001. The large network of clients and transcriptionists within Acusis contribute to the continued software and people excellence that puts Acusis in a category of its own, providing medical transcription services with Higher Standards. In addition to his Chairman responsibilities, Mr. Benter’s role as International CEO allows him to focus on providing strategic direction with regards to international development activities. This ensures Acusis software and hardware systems deliver world-class performance.

Mr. Benter was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied at Case Western Reserve, University of Bristol (England), and the University of Pittsburgh. He is an enthusiastic and long-term Rotary Club member who follows the Rotary model of “Service above Self.”

For more information visit