Innovators in Health
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- Ariane Kritley, MPH '04, is the founder and director of the international NGO Amman Imman: Water Is Life. Amman Imman builds clean and sustainable water sources; provides food security; and supports educational, environmental and health initiatives among some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. It is currently operating in the Azawak region of Niger, where 50 percent of children die before their fifth birthday and where most people travel over 35 miles to obtain just a few gallons of mud water to drink, cook and bathe with. Photo credit: Ariane Kirtley
In 2000, Jennifer Staple-Clark, then a sophomore at Yale University, founded Unite For Sight in her dorm room. By investing human and financial resources in the social ventures of eye clinics in developing countries, Unite For Sight has provided eye care to 1.7 million people living in extreme poverty, including more than 70,000 sight-restoring surgeries. Jennifer is the author of journal articles and book chapters about social entrepreneurship, best practices in global health and community eye health. Additionally, she is a member of the Yale University President's Council on International Activities.
- In dietary and nutritional studies, researchers look for telltale substances, or biomarkers, to determine what a person has eaten recently. However, this process often requires invasive and costly blood or urine sampling. Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, and Brenda Cartmel, Ph.D., senior research scientist, developed a device that measures these biomarkers by simply applying blue laser to the palm. This technology is fast and painless, providing nutrition information in about a minute.
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
- A team of Yale School of Public Health faculty and students developed an iPhone application that provides easy access to the information people need to protect themselves from Lyme disease, the most prevalent insect-borne disease in the United States. Durland Fish, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, oversaw the development of this application. Available since July 2012, this application, titled “Lyme Disease Tick Map,” may be downloaded for free in Apple’s iTunes store.
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.
- 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.
- Collecting insects for vector-borne disease studies requires researchers to carry bug traps over long distances. Leonard E. Munstermann, Ph.D., senior research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, designed an LED-based insect trap that is smaller, lighter and uses less energy than traditional light-based collection devices. This technology also offers greater flexibility in the wavelength of light emitted, thus making it more effective in capturing the insects that scientists want to study.