Global Health: What's Technology Got To Do With It?

Please join IntraHealth at 6:00 pm on June 2at The Varsity Theater
in downtown Chapel Hill

A growing number of innovative technologies—and innovators—are improving the quality and accessibility of life-saving health care for the most vulnerable populations living in the developing world. Leaders engaged in developing and applying new technologies—from medical devices, cell phones, communication technologies to diagnostics—will discuss how they are solving unique global health challenges.

Presenters included Josh Nesbit of Medic Mobile, Chancellor Holden Thorp of UNC, Robert A. Malkin of Duke University, Jon Gosier of Appfrica and Ushahidi, Jonathan Kuniholm of Open Prosthetics, and Radhika Chigurupati of Sana. The program included interactive technologies, audience participation, live music, and a networking reception.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, and is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. At TEDx events, a screening of TEDTalks videos—or a combination of live presenters and TEDTalks videos—sparks deep conversation and connections. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.


Holden Thorp | Dr. Radhika Chigurupati | Jon Gosier | Jonathan Kuniholm | Robert A. Malkin | Josh Nesbit |
Diali Cissokho & Kairaba!

Holden Thorp—Innovations in science, medicine, communications and technology as they relate to global health. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chancellor Holden Thorp has been an undergraduate student, a chemistry professor, a planetarium director, an inventor and entrepreneur, as well as a dean. He graduated with honors, won teaching awards, led a powerhouse chemistry department, developed technology for electronic DNA chips, founded spin-off companies, and succeeded as an administrator. Now as the 10th chancellor, Thorp draws from all of those experiences in leading Carolina. Thorp is an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and serves on a new U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative for the Council on Competitiveness. He has published 130 scholarly articles on electronic properties of DNA and RNA. He invented technology for electronic DNA chips that led to 19 issued or pending U.S. patents. He also recently co-authored a book, “Engines of Innovation-The Entrepreneurial University in the 21st Century,” which makes the case for the pivotal role of research universities as agents of societal change.

Dr. Radhika ChigurupatiPotential of telemedicine technologies to increase access to health services to remote, rural communities around the world. Dr. Chigurupati works with SANA, a company that offers open source data collection and collaboration platforms for clinical research and evidence-based health care delivery for underserved rural populations. Dr. Chigurupati has focused on telemedicine and mHealth initiatives in the developing world, including mobile clinical decision support tools (for both non-professional health workers and non-specialist health professionals) enabling better access to health care for people living in remote areas. Based in San Francisco, Dr. Chigurupati is a faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, and an attending surgeon at the UCSF Children’s Hospital, Moffitt Medical Center and San Francisco General Hospital.

Jon Gosier—Technology innovations created in Africa by African developers for disaster relief worldwide including crowdsourcing and crisis mapping. Gosier is the founder of Appfrica, a company that invests in East African software start ups to create jobs and prevent brain drain. He is an American software developer, a core staff member of the world renowned Ushahidi crisis mapping tool, and a TED Senior Fellow, writer, and social entrepreneur. Gosier also is a member of the IntraHealth OPEN Council.

Jonathan Kuniholm—How open access to prosthetics hardware designs is exponentially increasing access to life-enhancing prosthetics for those in need. Kuniholm is an engineer and founder of The Open Prosthetics Project, a non-profit organization that posts its research on prosthetic hardware designs on the internet, allowing individuals and companies to access the information free-of-charge. A Marine officer, he was sent to Iraq in 2004. On New Year’s Day in 2005, Kuniholm’s patrol was ambushed by Iraqi insurgents near the Euphrates River. The Iraqi insurgents detonated a device packed with shrapnel and explosives, then started firing; Kuniholm's platoon took cover and returned fire. Kuniholm was wounded in the initial explosion and his right arm was later amputated below the elbow.

Robert A. Malkin—Ongoing efforts around the world to develop alternative, low-cost medical devices that improve health care delivery in low-resource settings. Dr. Malkin is a Duke University Professor and the founder of Engineering World Health and the Global Public Service Academies. He is a member of the World Health Organization's Technical Advisory Group on Healthcare Technology and a member of the committee rewriting the WHO Medical Equipment Donation Guidelines. Dr. Malkin's laboratory at Duke has launched products for the developing world to treat hyperbilirubinemia, detect cervical cancer and prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Josh Nesbit—Application of m-health technologies to improve the delivery of health care services and information. Josh Nesbit is the CEO of Medic Mobile, a nonprofit company that uses mobile technology to create connected, coordinated health systems that save more lives. The company works in 13 countries around the world. As an international health and bioethics student at Stanford, Nesbit focused his research on access to pediatric HIV/AIDS treatment. He is a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, Rainer Arnhold Fellow, Strauss Scholar, and Haas Public Service Fellow. Nesbit was named by Devex as one of 40 Under 40 Leaders in International Development and received the Truman Award for Innovation from the Society for International Development. He also is a member of IntraHealth’s Board of Directors.

Diali Cissokho & Kairaba! plays music inspired by the ancient West African griot tradition featuring the kora, a 21-stringed harp. This collaboration of Senegalese and North Carolina musicians creates an infectious sound reminiscent of West African dance bands full of unison melody, adventurous improvisation, fiery solos, and polyrhythmic frameworks. With lyrics in Manding, Wolof, and English, Kairaba! illuminates its listeners with stories of ancient and modern West Africa and how they relate to today's universal experiences and emotions felt by everyone, regardless of origin.