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Seven Questions with Dr. Ross I. Donaldson: Author of 'The Lassa Ward'

Dr. Ross I. Donaldson will sign copies of incredible story, The Lassa Ward, tonight at Barnes & Noble on the 3rd Street Promenade. | Photo by Marion Ettlinger
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LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it's the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we've created "Seven Questions with..." If you have a suggestion for a future Seven Questions subject send us an email.Today's subject is Dr. Ross I. Donaldson, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Donaldson is a UCLA medical professor and works in one of Los Angeles's main trauma centers, specializing in emergency medicine and global health. He has been a humanitarian in some of the world’s most dangerous places, a NASA expedition doctor to one of the planet’s highest lakes, and the caregiver to some of humanity’s poorest people. Dr. Donaldson’s most recent international work involves frequent trips to Iraq, where he is helping to build an emergency medical system for that country’s traumatized civilians.

In his new book, The Lassa Ward, Ross tells the story of a summer spent in Sierra Leone doing research on the deadly Lassa virus, an Ebola-like virus that affects the countries of West Africa. It was 2003, and Ross was a medical student at UCLA who traveled to Africa to study under the tutelage of the world's leading and almost-only expert on the disease, Dr. Aniru Conteh. When Dr. Conteh became ill halfway across the country, Donaldson was forced to step up and run his impoverished village clinic.

LAist had the privilege of speaking with Donaldson, a 33 year-old resident of Venice Beach who will be signing copies of his incredible memoir at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica tonight at 7 p.m.