Balde a Balde

March 27, 2012

Water is a fundamental element for human survival and still three billion people live without taps.  Safeagua Peru a Designmatters sponsored trans-disciplinary studio at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, for social innovation, aims to help families in Peru’s slums overcome water scarcity. In a 10-day research trip Kim Chow assessed the water needs of the community and designed Balde a Balde (Spanish for Bucket to Bucket).  This portable faucet provides running water from any container, bringing the health benefits and experience of using a tap to families living

without running water.

Solange Madriz and Kim Chow

The portable faucet can be attached to any container with a universal clip, then starts continuous flow of water with a few squeezes of the siphon pump.  A product designer and an environmental designer are involved in this project.  Unlike other handwashing interventions, this product addresses not just clean hands, but optimizes the full range of water-related tasks performed in the home. By working with existing containers and patterns of use, this product provides running water wherever it is needed. It promotes health by supplying the hygienic benefits of running water, makes hand washing more accessible to children, and allows for exact control of where and how much water is used, to save water


This product is priced to be affordable for people living on $4-10 a day. Available for direct purchase by the end user, it

does not depend on subsidies or donations.  It currently does not have any competitors and

in initial fiel

d tests it

showed to be very easy to use.  The team is currently prototyping different models and contacting other ideas designe

rs such as water filtering to incorporate in this faucet.  An innovative idea that addresses communities’ needs.


Solange Madriz, Global Health Masters Student at the University of California, San Francisco


Project Agrow

March 27, 2012

Even though there is abundant food to provide for sufficient nutrient intake for everyone on earth, hunger and malnutrition remain pervasive.  Undernourishment affects more than a billion people worldwide who face weakened immune response making disease more likely and more threatening.  Undernourishment is highly prevalent in low-income settings and can lead to macro and micro-nutrient deficiencies.  India is the country with the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world.  In fact, stunting or reduced growth rate is prevalent in more than 50% of children.  Stunting is a chronic form of undernourishment and hinders both physical and cognitive development.

As a result of this situation the World Health Organization has developed a peanut butter-based health food formula that helps children quickly recover their health.  The problem in India is that even though thousands of dollars have been allocated to this effort, rural communities are unable to process enough peanuts to produce the therapeutic food.  Because the de-cortification and separation processes are done manually it takes rur

al communities months to have enough peanuts to produce the product.  Considering this, Shreya Mishra and Neeraj Jain from the Indian Institute of Technology are developing a low-cost, manually operated peanut processing machine especially designed for rural communities.  This machine enable

s de-cortication and de-husking of raw peanuts to deliver clean peanuts kernels.

The machine has a total production cost of $140.  The use of this machine will significantly increase the production of peanuts necessary to produce the food formula and also reduce the time dedicated in the processes.  Furthermore, this machine will also contribute to value creation in low-income communities because it will allow farmers to process raw peanuts themselves and sell them directly in the market.

Currently, this machine has only one competitor that is electrically operated which in low-resource communities could be an obstacle to implementation.  Project Agrow is in negotiating with the government of India the distribution of the product to low-income communities.  Project Agrow is a device designed to tackle one of the most important health problems in India.  If successfully implemented, this project will benefit a large number of children that are currently undernourished.


Solange Madriz, Global Health Masters student at the University of California San Francisco

Empathetic Innovations in Healthcare: The patient experience project: Session at 2012 NCIIA Conference

March 26, 2012

Jim Agutter at the University of Utah is looking at the healthcare system in a new way. When one goes into a hospital they enter a world full of confusion. Doctors and nurses seems to be speaking another language, you take off your clothes to put on scratchy new ones to then laid on a table where you feel more like a car in the shop instead of a human. Because of all the unfamiliarity, patients commonly are anxious and scared, which ultimately affects their recovery. Agutter described how the human element has been taken out of the healthcare system and patients’ anxiety is not taken into account.

In order to put the human element back into the healthcare system, Agutter has developed a program of a small group of students that are focused on designing innovations for the current health care system. These students work closely throughout the semester, following doctors, nurses, patients, administrators and family members through the process of healthcare to get a holistic picture of the challenges with the current system.

One project addressed the simple lack of information about the healthcare process by creating a map with information of what to expect in the hospital each step of the way. This map contains information in a clear readable way for all education levels with the ultimate goal of easing patients’ anxiety. From development in Agutter’s class, this map has gone to market and currently in the process of being developed for a local hospital. Taking the patients’ concerns and needs in to account in a hospital seems like it should be the norm, however this is an innovative program because it take nothing for granite. This program reevaluated the healthcare system thoroughly and finds ways to address the needs of the patients.

Brillance- Design Revolution

March 26, 2012
Brillance D- Rev

Picture from NCIIA OpenMinds Event

Newborn jaundice is a very common condition that affects 50-60% of all babies born. However, if left untreated, it can lead to very serious problems such as brain damage or death. Phototherapy treatment has been the standard form of treatment and in the United States, the associated costs have dramatically decreased in recent years, leading to a decrease in infant mortality. In many developing countries however, only a small segment of the population has access to treatment services. In Africa, there is an estimated unmet need of 3.8 million and another 2.8 million in Asia.
With these numbers in mind, a student from Stanford University named Ben Cline set out to create an affordable and efficient LED-based phototherapy device, which has developed into the Brillance project. Brillance is noteworthy and innovative because it can effectively treat 413 babies before the bulb needs replacing as compared to 83 babies on an older, fluorescent-based phototherapy device. The costs associated with maintaining Brillance are much more reasonable as well; both the light bulbs and the machine itself, cost a fraction of what fluorescent devices do.
Brillance has partnered with a technology non-profit called Design Revolution to develop the device and it is being introduced later this year at health clinics in the rural districts of Tamil Andu, India. With all the hype that has been generated about their product, they have started to take pre-orders from doctors and clinics in Liberia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt. The eventual goal is to make the device available to everyone who needs it, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Another amazing idea that is saving lives and changing the world, that’s the power of Open Minds!

-Katia Chikasuye, focus in environmental studies and global health

Strong Arm and IdeaLab

March 26, 2012

Strong Arm and IdeaLab

(left to right):
RIT’s IdeaLab professors: John Schull, Carl Lundgren; Strong Arm Team Justin Hillery (wearing product and holding their Winning Pitch certificate), Sean Pettersen


“Lifting injuries cost [U.S.] industries $50 billion each year,” say weight-lifting enthusiasts Justin Hillery and Sean Petterson of Rochester Institute of Technology. That’s a lot of back ache.

However, if graduating seniors Hillery and Petterson secure the $50,000 they need for the next testing phase of their “Strong Arm” back brace and vest, the world may see some relief very soon. Over the last 1.5 years, the two designed and tested a vest that helps to direct the weight of heavy loads to strategic points of the back and torso where we’re strongest. This, they say, will go far in helping lifters to minimize and/or avoid injury. Their priority markets in the short-term are the materials handling market (think “construction” for example) and healthcare where workers are often called upon to lift patients from wheelchair to bed and so on.

Through a cord crisscrossing the back of the vest that connects to attached gloves in the front, the lightweight apparatus maneuvers the body to assume the proper posture for lifting when a lifting force occurs. When not lifting, the vest simply relaxes.

The prototype was presented Thursday at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) conference in San Francisco, where Hillery and Petterson were one of 14 student teams presenting their inventions to the general public. There, selected teams also presented 3-minute video clips where they “pitched” their inventions. The RIT duo won $1,000 for the “Best Video Pitch”.

They were elated, but not too surprised. Product market-readiness aside, they have also been working very hard on their pitch. In January 2012, the two gym enthusiasts participated in a NCIIA IdeaLab 4-day boot camp where about 30 entrepreneurial students from multiple schools came together to learn and practice the necessary steps to successfully take a product from concept to market. Petterson and Hillery’s Strong Arm was not born by the crash course, but their winning pitch was. With the importance of the pitch drilled into them. They reworked theirs, won the NCIIA competition in the category on Thursday, and earlier the same day, Strong Arm Technologies Inc. was the only student-owned company chosen to pitch to investment group Hi-Tech Rochester. “We’re proud daddies,” beamed RIT professors Jon Schull and Carl Lundgren, who lead the IdeaLab January. They should be. The Strong Arm team is competing with far more experienced businessmen for Hi-Tech Rochester’s funds. While final decisions have not yet been made, the young entrepreneurs remain strong in the running.

New course addresses ethical challenges in global health training

November 28, 2011

The Center for Innovation in Global Health with the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics has just launched a new interactive, web-based course on ethical challenges faced by trainees during short-term global health rotations. The curriculum and course includes 10 cases, each with three interactive vignettes, that address important ethical challenges targeted towards individuals from diverse disciplines with little or no prior experience in global health. Each case requires less than 10 minutes to complete and allows users to print a certificate of completion.

CUGH, GHEC Awards Ceremony- Winners

November 15, 2011

CUGH Early Career Award:

Dr. Nancy Glass, Johns Hopkins University Global Health Center

Anvar and Pari Velji Award for Global Health Excellence:

GHEC Emerging Leaders in Global Health- Emma Lawrence, Univ of Michigan
Global Health Project of the Year-  Univ of Washington Team- Drs Kim, Harrington, Chung
Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence- Sten Vermund, Vanderbilt

Student Poster Abstract Awards:

Ashley Elsensohn, Univ of Utah
Mariam Fofana, John Hopkins School of Medicine
Lawrence Mumm, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Melissa Reimer, Univ of South Alabama College of Medicine
Keila Veiga, Univ of Connecticut
Claudi Vela, Hopital Masonneuve-Rosemount
Yae Yoshino, Kitasato Univerity

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