Jo Ann Kairys
Jo Ann Kairys is mother of 4 children (3 of whom are adopted) and grandmother to 5 grandchildren (so far).
With a master's degree in public health, she has spent her professional career in the health care field at major medical centers, including the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in NH and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).
She managed clinical services for patients and developed new approaches to providing quality of care--especially for culturally diverse populations.
As a researcher, she conducted studies on improving health outcomes for medically underserved communities. Her research articles appear in numerous peer-reviewed medical journals, including Pediatrics.
Starting in the early 90s, she and her husband, a pediatrician, received funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to teach health care professionals across Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
Extensive travels through these countries spanned more than a decade and prompted a new interest--writing for children.
With a good command of Russian and Slavic languages, she visited orphanages from Romania to Siberia, learning from children, discovering stories and artwork previously inaccessible to the western world.
These influences became apparent as she learned to recraft her writing and illustrate children's literature.
Jo Ann lives with her husband and daughter, born in Moscow, in Holmdel, NJ.