Advancing Mobile Health Technology in Resource-Poor Settings

The JHU Global mHealth Initiative is innovating with mobile health technology in communities with the most need.

As new information technologies become cheaper and more widespread, the potential to apply innovative solutions to global health problems has never been greater. The Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative (JHU-GmI) is designed to tap into that potential, bringing together expertise from JHU Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Engineering, Nursing and Business as well as the JHU Applied Physics Lab and Jhpiego. The initiative supports the research and dissemination of mobile health (mHealth) strategies in resource-limited settings, from Bangladesh to Baltimore, sponsoring projects in fields ranging from maternal and child health and chronic disease to mental health. Whether it’s determining how to scale up the use of technologies to improve cleft lip outcomes in Nicaragua or using mHealth strategies to provide contraception education in Nigeria, GmI-affiliated researchers are committed to improving public health worldwide.

 

To meet the diverse health needs of communities in resource-limited settings, researchers across JHU tap into the ecosystem of engineers, physicians, public health specialists, and programmers who are part of this Center of Excellence. GmI maintains and curates a repository of the JHU mHealth innovation ecosystem, numbering 140+ projects and 19 apps, as of October 2015. GmI has developed relationships with a variety of partners required for success in this emerging space, from technology vendors to the Food and Drug Administration to the WHO, UNICEF, and Ministries of Health around the world. GmI faculty provide technical assistance to donor agencies such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID. The initiative also identifies research support, promotes interdisciplinary collaboration, and provides monitoring and evaluation services to global mHealth programs. Importantly, GmI works to disseminate and scale up successful innovations through policy recommendations and large-scale program deployments.

 

Education is also a critical element of GmI strategy. GmI faculty teach mHealth courses and digital data workshops as well as provide internships in countries such as Ghana, Malawi, and Bangladesh – allowing students to be immersed in both the theory and practice of mHealth. Courses focus on different aspects of mHealth development, including issues of policy, economics, and health services delivery. Workshops teach the essentials of programming, solution development, and evaluation of best practices. Every year, the GmI works with the Center for Global Health to secure over 40 scholarships for JHU students and faculty to participate in the mHealth Summit in Washington, DC – the premier global event in this emergent innovation space. Annually, GmI sponsors seminars, workshops, and hackathons, further defining Johns Hopkins as a global leader in mHealth.

 

Since 2010, GmI’s commitment to identifying and testing novel technologies to solve entrenched global health problems is leading to improved health in the communities with the most need. Companies such as emocha (emocha.com) and software such as the Open Smart Register platform (smartregister.org) are emerging from GmI faculty innovations, leading to national-level solutions.

 

To learn more about and participate in this University-wide initiative, visit their website at jhumhealth.org

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