On November 9th in downtown Portland, PATH hosted a gathering of people from technology, financial services, health care, philanthropic and other organizations to discuss how the Northwest is uniquely positioned to accelerate global health innovations. “The Northwest: Driving Global Health Innovation,” was kicked off by longtime Portland area resident and former PATH employee, Judy Rea and the program featured speakers from PATH, CortControl, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Medical Teams International, and Cambia Health Solutions.
Although PATH has more than 100 projects in 70 countries that span the areas of vaccines, diagnostic tools, medical devices and drugs, this evening was devoted to digital health solutions appropriate for low income countries in Africa and Asia.
One theme that came up repeatedly during the evening was the power of strategic alliances that exist in the Northwest, especially in Portland and Seattle, where global health expertise, deep technical expertise and enlightened philanthropic funders converge to meet major global health challenges through digital innovations. In a fascinating example, speakers from Cambia Health Solutions and Medical Teams International shared their organizations’ partnership to digitize data gathering in Ugandan malaria vaccination centers. In a desperate part of the world, this effort gave health workers the ability to provide markedly better care to refugees and other distressed people.
In a second example of Northwest’s unique mix of technology and global health expertise and philanthropy, PATH announced a new Digital Health Initiative grant of up to $50M from the U.S. Government. This initiative is designed to bring non-government organizations (NGOs), Ministries of Health and the private sector together to accelerate the adoption of digital health solutions in Africa and Asia. The head of PATH’s Digital Health Solutions team, Dykki Settle, explained that it was a grant from Vancouver, Washington based M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, combined with local technology and global health expertise that enabled PATH to position itself as the lead NGO for the initiative.
More than 70 professionals, philanthropists and community leaders attended the event. Among those in attendance were representatives from:
- Technology and logistics companies such as Intel, Accenture, and Digital Impact Alliance
- Medical technology incubators from Washington State University, the OHSU Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente’s IT Mergers and Acquisition Group
- The biopharmaceutical giant Merck
- Global health organizations including PATH, Medical Teams International, SPOON Foundation, Safe Passage to Motherhood, and World Vision
- Funders and fund/grant managers such as M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Paulson Investment Company, Wells Fargo Wealth Management, and Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington
This PATH salon was designed to highlight the already extensive and growing global health ecosystem in the Northwest and we intend to continue the conversation through periodic updates and activities that we believe will foster awareness, collaboration and acceleration of global health innovations and impact. We hope you will continue to follow and engage with northwest global health organizations including PATH, MTI, OHSU and Mercy Corps.
Finally, as a nonprofit, PATH’s ability to accelerate global health innovations through projects like the Digital Health Initiative is driven by philanthropic support and I want to thank all of PATH’s donors in the Portland area and beyond for supporting our life saving work. For more information, please visit www.path.org/donate.