NHK, the Japanese broadcasting company, has done a nice segment for its English-language NHK World program on the Participatory One Health Disease Detection (PODD) project we helped launch earlier this month in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It gives a good sense of the mobile app at the core of the effort. Watch it below.
Copyright NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) All rights reserved.
Members of our pandemics team were in Chiang Mai last week for the official launch of an innovative disease detection project. We signed an memorandum of understanding with local government leaders, Chiang Mai University and Opendream (a Thailand-based technology company) for the Participatory One Health Disease Detection (PODD) project, a first of its kind community-based surveillance system. It operationalizes the One Health concept – that human, animal and environmental health are all intimately interrelated. Since the project began in September 2014, the team has developed a mobile application for local volunteers to report sick or dead animals, changes in food prices at markets, and food borne illness. The project team has trained over 300 volunteers from throughout Chiang Mai to use the app and they have already identified an outbreak of avian influenza and several potential cases of rabies from dog bites. Below is Thai public television coverage of the PODD project, which, though in Thai, conveys a sense of the types of animal environments included under the project. The segment starts at 5:30 in the video below, with our Mark Smolinki appearing briefly at the 8:23 mark.
The second session in the Reinventors Network series on Reinventing Nuclear Security that we’re supporting focused on how the National Labs system, born of the nuclear age, might look different in the future. It’s an interesting conversation, including former lab workers, academics, nuclear specialists and even a sci-fi writer. You can watch a short recap of that session below.
The recent kickoff session of the new Reinventors Network series on rethinking nuclear security we’re helping support through N Square has now been summarized in an 11-minute recap video. The session focuses on the potential for novel application of technology to solve nuclear security challenges. Some really interesting insights from a great lineup of futurists and technologists:
Paula Saffo, Technology forecaster, Professor at Stanford University & Futures Track Chair at Singularity University Reese Jones, Associate Founder at Singularity University; longtime venture strategist John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder in General & Peripheral Visionary Greg Petroff, Chief Experience Officer at GE Software Sean Gourley, Co-Founder & CTO at Quid Brie Linkenhoker, Director of Worldview Stanford at Stanford University Erika Gregory, Director of N Square & Host of the Reinvent Nuclear Security series
Almost 70 years after Hiroshima, the world has managed to avoid nuclear war, but we are far from being out of danger of a nuclear explosion. Despite progress in disarmament since the end of the Cold War, the world still has an estimated 17,000 nuclear bombs.
The Reinvent Nuclear Security series aims to answer the question: How can 21st-century innovation greatly accelerate progress toward the eventual eradication of nuclear weapons while significantly reducing nuclear risk today? Here’s an intro video featuring Valerie Plame, a former CIA agent who worked closely on nuclear issues:
Our first roundtable in the series, Possible Game-Changing Technologies, is scheduled for Jan 20, 2015, at 11:00 am PT. You can get more information on the session here or RSVP on the Google+ event page, here. I’ll be participating, as will some really interesting folks from the technology world. We hope you join the conversation!
For more information about this series, please visit the series landing page here.
Since 2011, Flu Near You, a collaboration between the American Public Health Association, HealthMap of Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, has collected weekly reports of influenza-like illness symptoms from volunteers in the United States and Canada. With well over 100,000 user registrations and recently surpassing 1,000,000 total reports, we’ve shown that we really can put the public back into public health.
Now that Flu Near You has demonstrated its current value and future potential as a public health surveillance tool, we’d like to engage researchers, data scientists, statisticians, epidemiologists and others in answering a fundamental question that will guide our continued development of Flu Near You – how many volunteer reports do we need to meet our public health surveillance goals? We’ve worked with Innocentive to develop a challenge to solicit a wide variety of ideas and approaches to answering this question. We would encourage you to take a look here and share widely within your networks.
Dr. Larry Brilliant, our senior advisor and former president who was a key player in smallpox eradication, writes in the Wall Street Journal about what we should do about Ebola and future infectious disease threats. Better detection, new diagnostics, applying new technologies to proven practices like containment, and better cross-border regional collaboration are all important areas where progress in being made, but needs to be accelerated. Read the article here.
Scott Field, a friend and colleague, sadly passed away last weekend in a hiking accident in the French Alps. Scott had recently left the Skoll Global Threats Fund to take up a position in the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Syria, and was temporarily in Geneva waiting for paperwork to allow his move to Damascus. Scott was deeply committed to working toward peace in the Middle East, and his dedication and insights will be sorely missed. Our condolences go out to all the friends around the world who were lucky enough to know Scott, as well as his family in Australia.
My friend and colleague, Larry Brilliant, is retiring from the Skoll Global Threats Fund in January 2015, having helped conceptualize and launch the organization five years ago. I could have picked no one better to get this important effort off the ground. As President since inception, Larry leaves behind a strong team and innovative approaches to addressing some of the world’s most urgent global problems. Larry will continue to contribute his energy and ideas in a different capacity, transitioning into a role as Senior Advisor to me, where he will help me as I build the Jeff Skoll Group. He will also continue to serve as an important advisor to the Skoll Global Threats Fund.
As the organization moves into its next phase, I am pleased to announce that Annie Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer over the last four years, will take over as President. With experience in government, international civil society, and the NGO sector, Annie brings to the role a nuanced understanding of the ways in which organizations work, as well as a capacity to build the networks that are critical for success against the global threats the world is facing. She has worked closely with Larry over the last four years, leading strategy refinement, building a world-class team, and creating an effective organization. She is the ideal person to help the Skoll Global Threats Fund evolve to the next stage. The Board of Directors very much looks forward to working with Annie going forward.
The Skoll Global Threats Fund is supporting the debut of a mobile app at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil to help track people’s health over the course of the event. This builds on the participatory surveillance work we’ve done around Flu Near You here in the U.S. The tool is now available for download free of charge at the Play Store (Android) and Apple Store (iPhone/iPad) in Portuguese, English and Spanish. The application is intended for both Brazilian and foreign visitors. The app has been developed by EpiTrack, a local partner in Brazil.
The risk of disease outbreak is always a concern at mass gatherings like the World Cup, in which millions of Brazilians and foreign tourists are in motion across 12 host cities. Via the app, fans report their daily health status (very good, good, ill or very ill). If a fan reports not being well, he/she is asked to indicate one or more symptoms from a list of ten, including fever, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and headache. The fan also reports if he/she has had contact or knows someone with any of the symptoms. If many fans in the same region report similar symptoms, surveillance teams can investigate. The Ministry of Health, in conjunction with state and local governments, can get an indicator of potential issues and adopt measures to inform and protect the public.
In addition to contributing to public health, with the Healthy Cup app fans have access to information such as the location of public and private hospitals, and nearby pharmacies, with maps. The app also includes information on health care and disease prevention, with direct access to the Twitter feed from the Ministry of Health and links to a Travelers’ Health Portal containing practical tips and essential information to help domestic and foreign tourists to protect their health during the trip.
This is a pilot project to explore the value of this kind of real-time reporting. If it proves successful, it could serve as a model for similar mass gathering events, such as the Hajj to Mecca or the Olympics.