SwitchPoint Inspires Innovation to Address Global Health Challenges

IntraHealth International Brings Global Innovators and Industry Leaders to North Carolina

With more than 1 billion people lacking access to basic health care worldwide, industry and business leaders from across the world gathered this past Friday  at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw to help develop new and innovative ideas, solutions, and strategies for addressing global health challenges. SwitchPoint, the first annual conference, retreat and benefit concert presented by IntraHealth International, attracted more than 400 people from more than 20 countries.

IntraHealth President and CEO Pape Gaye said, “SwitchPoint exemplifies what we do at IntraHealth. In our quest to make the world a better place by empowering health workers, we know we have to be creative and courageous; we have to shake things up. The only way to do that is to reach out to new partners and to discover, through partnerships, better ways of doing things.” Gaye added, “We are already planning for next year’s SwitchPoint and look forward to continuing to build on the community developed through this year’s event.”

“Today was really about the intersection of good ideas and real impact,” said Michael Tiemann vice president of open source affairs at Red Hat and featured keynote speaker for the event. “SwitchPoint focused on building and applying communities of practice, and bringing together innovation, engineering, data, technology, entrepreneurship, local capacity, resources, and practicality toward health and well-being for all. It was a resounding success in pulling together diverse communities and new ideas.”

SwitchPoint featured 30 speakers from across the world and from a variety of industries. Eric Hodge of WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio, served as the conference emcee. The speaker list included six company founders and CEOs, two TED fellows, a Champion of Change awarded by President Obama, three under-40 top leaders selected by Forbes and Business Daily, and several regular contributors to leading news outlets including CNN, The Guardian, and NPR. Speakers have worked for a variety of organizations, including Google, GOOD, Cisco, Intel Social Business, Grameen, Medic Mobile, USAID, the World Bank, the UN Foundation, Development Seed, MapBox, New Kind, iHub, Ashoka, the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, Project Diaspora, Embrace, as well as Red Hat, and IntraHealth.

Following the day’s conference and retreat, a benefit concert was held at the Haw River Ballroom. The evening's benefit concert featured an array of artists presenting songs in the spirit of collaboration, remix, and innovation.

Performers for the evening concert included Anders Parker of the collaborative band New Multitudes, which is currently #1 on Billboard's Heatseekers; Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony; Andy Kleindienst of Orquesta GarDel; and the bands Birds and Arrows, and Toubab Krewe. Kairaba, a North Carolina, West African collaborative group, performed a lunchtime concert at the river amphitheater. During the conference musician Pierce Freelon performed a remix, and the Apple Juice Kid served as an on-stage DJ.

The SwitchPoint host committee was co-chaired by Marcia Angle, MD, MPH; Ambassador Brenda B. Schoonover; and Louise Winstanly, LLB, MS.

Learn more about SwitchPoint 2012 and view photos from the day.