RxAll is dedicated to creating safe, reliable pipelines of high-quality drugs in Africa. Their digital procurement platform, www.rxallng.com, is an online marketplace where pharmacies buy authentic healthcare products directly from verified and licensed pharma manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. Additionally, using big data and artificial intelligence, RxAll- www.rxall.net is developing a deep learning algorithm to screen for counterfeit drugs using spectrometry. The model has achieved 94 percent matching efficacy on drug samples from Africa and has been cited in the US Journal for Chemical education. In 2016, RxAll co-founders Adebayo Alonge and Ankur Kapadia won the YEI-IHY Global Social Venture Creation Program Award of $3,200, and in 2017 received the IHY Seed Stage Award of $10,000. The team also recently joined the Merck Accelerator in Nairobi, Kenya where they have now opened their second African office after Nigeria. Follow fascinating work on Twitter @rxallng and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RxAllng/ .
The 2016 IHY Thorne Prize went to Spring, a clinical tool that diagnoses patients with depression and matches patients with the most effective treatment. Spring, led by co-founders April Koh, Adam Chekroud, and Abhishek Chandra, uses machine-learning to predict which common antidepressants will work best for a patient based on clinical data. The goal is to incorporate Spring enabled-tablets into clinician waiting rooms, where patients will be screened for depression using the app, matched with a treatment plan, and then seen by a clinician for confirmation and prescription. Since receiving the Thorne Prize in 2016, the Spring team has closed on $1.5M of seed financing, received a $30,000 Bioscience Pipeline award, received an innovation award from the American Psychiatry Association, and was accepted into the New York Digital Health Accelerator. For more information visit Spring’s website at https://www.spring.care/about and follow them on Twitter @spring_health.
Over 4 billion parents don’t have books, but do have mobile phones. Using this key insight, co-founders Phil Esterman, David McPeek, and Aubrey Wahl launched Storytime, the 2015 IHY Thorne Prize Winner. Storytime is an edTech startup dedicated to scaling early literacy for low income families via mobile phone. Storytime (www.joinstorytime.com) is a free app that lets teachers send home children’s books to parents’ phones. It's shown to double nightly reading. Storytime is now funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, working with schools across 12 states to connect school and home.
Khushi Baby’s mission is to track each child’s immunization to the last mile so that 1.5 million children do not continue to die from vaccine-preventable disease every year. It does this through integrated mobile health, wearable NFC technology and cloud computing to produce a complete platform to bridge the world’s vaccination gap. Led by Ruchit Nagar YC ’15, MPH ’16, Khushi Baby started as a student project in an engineering class at Yale, went on to win the Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health, completed a successful Kickstarter campaign, and is now partnering with organizations in India to distribute and evaluate their device.
Global Health Corps
Co-founded by Barbara Bush, YC ‘ 04, Global Health Corps provides a yearlong paid fellowship for young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on the frontlines of the fight for global health equity at existing health organizations and government agencies. Fellows are currently working in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and the United States.
Living Goods develops networks of franchised micro-entrepreneurs who leverage Living Goods’ brand, buying power and marketing tools to deliver vital products at accessible prices to the people who need them most. Founded and directed by Chuck Slaughter, YC ’85 , SOM ’90, it combines the best practices from the worlds of micro-enterprise, franchising and public health, to create a fully sustainable system to improve the health, wealth, and productivity of the world’s poor.
Some 58,000 infants die of neonatal tetanus each year. A significant number of these deaths are due to unclean delivery and cord practices in low and lower middle-income countries with high rates of unattended births. As an MPH student, Margo Klar, MPH ’11, won a Gates Foundation Grand Challenge Explorations Grant for Global Health and Development Research to develop a clean, simple and sharp umbilical cord cutting device that is designed to reduce the incidence of infection related to poor delivery hygiene in developing countries. The device will be named the “Ceramic Umbilical Cord Finger Scissors.”
Now a PhD candidate at the University of Florida, Klar’s device is in its sixth prototype and showing promising results. The cutting device is made from already available ceramic materials and will be distributed to select communities in developing countries that have a high incidence of tetanus and perinatal infections.
photo credit: Maria Belen Farias/University of Florida Health Communications
Documentary Film as a Public Health Tool
Jonathan Smith's, MPH '10, award winning film, "They Go To Die," provides contextual factors that influence HIV and TB vulnerabilities among gold miners in southern African, and investigates the health impact this oscillation has on the spread of TB and HIV coinfection. Jonathan created a new approach—Visual Epidemiology—to capture this complex interrelationship on film. More recently he began the “Story of a Girl” project which includes shooting eight films in different countries around the world, portraying the lives of women living with HIV and what is possible with proper access to HIV treatment.
Saving Lives at Birth Project
Louis Fazen, a doctoral candidate at the School of Public Health is part of an international team of researchers that was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a project that uses smartphones to reduce infant and maternal mortality in Kenya. The group trained community health extension workers in conducting surveys on the mobile phone and to troubleshoot issues as they arise. Read the full story.