Charles (Chas) Salmen, MD

Director, Community Engagement

Dr. Chas Salmen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and serves as the Director of the UMN-OHR Mfangano Community Health Field Station in Western Kenya. Dr. Salmen brings extensive experience in medical anthropology and community-based research, particularly within HIV hyperendemic fishing communities of Lake Victoria, Kenya.

Through a 2007 Rhodes Scholarship to the Oxford University Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Dr. Salmen conducted 2 years of ethnographic fieldwork on Mfangano Island exploring the surprising relationship between the Nile Perch Fishing industry and HIV epidemiology in the region. 

During this time on Mfangano Island, Dr. Salmen worked with local stakeholders and community leaders to help establish a community health organization called the Organic Health Response. Dr. Salmen also recruited and trained local investigators to establish the first community-based research department on Mfangano Island at the Ekialo Kiona Community Center. This team of investigators has completed numerous longitudinal studies to evaluate novel interventions to address HIV/AIDS, maternal health and food security issues facing these remote communities. 

Dr. Salmen completed his medical training at UCSF School of Medicine, and his residency at the UMN North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program. In collaboration with the UMN Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, Dr. Salmen now leads the development of a local-global collaboration between UMN and the Organic Health Response, supporting longitudinal global health research, training for US and Kenyan graduate students, and innovative health programming through the “Mfangano Community Health Field Station”.

Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Family Medicine and Community Health

MD, University of California-San Francisco
University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency
English Literature
, Duke University

Expand all


  • Family Medicine and Community Health
  • Underserved Medicine
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Community-Based Research
  • HIV/AIDS and related issues in rural East Africa

Awards & Recognition

  • 2007 Rhodes Scholarship (Balliol, District 13)
  • 2008 Young Voices in Research for Health North American Winner. The Lancet and Global Forum on Research for Health
  • 2011 UCSF School of Medicine Dean’s Research Fellowship in Global Health
  • 2014 Pisacano Scholar, Pisacano Leadership Foundation of American Board of Family Medicine
  • 2016 Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education, American Academy of Family Physicians

Professional Associations




  • English
  • Swahili