Barbara Bush: Technology and Innovation Supporting Global Health

Social entrepreneurs gathered this past December at the Social Innovation Summit to share lessons on how to create social good through technology and innovation. PSI Board Member and Global Health Corps co-founder Barbara Bush was one of the event’s featured speakers. Brian Sirgutz of the Huffington Post caught up with Barbara after the event to talk about technology and social good through the lens of global health.

Here is a selection of the discussion:

Brian: Your supporters include top names in information technology, like Cisco and Hewlett Packard. (Note: Cisco sponsors the ImpactX section). Can you talk a little about those relationships and how they add to your mission?

We’ve actively worked to build relationships with non-traditional partners that share our values — innovators like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Cisco who are leading the charge to build products and systems that connect communities, and increase information sharing.

Interestingly, global health organizations desperately need many of the skills employees at multi-national corporations like HP and Cisco have. Cisco employees who are experts in management information and technology systems have mentored some of our fellows working in Malawi with Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation to build out stronger electronic medical records and data tracking systems.

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Global Health Corps Accepting New Applicants

PSI Board Member Barbara Bush co-founded the Global Health Corps (GHC) through the 2008 aids2031 Young Leaders Summit hosted by UNAIDS and Google. In the four years since the summit, GHC has continued to send talented volunteers to work with organizations like Partners in Health and PSI in countries like Rwanda, Uganda, the United Sates and Malawi.

Applications are now open for new corps members. This year, applicants can apply for 3 positions that match their interests and skills, from project management to monitoring and evaluation, engineering, communications and more. GHC says they are  looking for people from a broad range of sectors and disciplines. No prior health experience is necessary! The only things we ask are that the applicants be 30 years old or younger, hold a university degree, and be proficient in English.

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Honoring Washington’s Malaria Champions

Few topics have the ability to bring together strong bi-partisan support in Washington. Fortunately, malaria bucks the trend as an area that receives strong support from Democrats and Republicans alike.

This morning, the Malaria No More Policy Center honored the work of malaria advocates from both sides of the aisle at the Fourth Annual Malaria Champions Breakfast in Washington DC. Awards were given to Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-01-NE).

Sen Wicker described his recent Easter trip to 5 countries in Africa. What struck him was the good will that American health programs are engendering in the continent. “We can be proud as Americans that we have three chief executives that are so revered,” he said citing the accomplishments of Bush, Clinton and Obama. He stressed the simplicity of advocating for malaria. “We know what works. We know the methods for treatment and prevention,” he remarked.

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