Lemelson-MIT 2009 Sustainability Award To Global Health Software Innovator
The 2009 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability was awarded today to a professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC, Dr. Joel Selanikio. The $100,000 award will be presented to him at MIT in June, where he will present his EpiSurveyor innovation, the most widely adopted open source mobile health software in the world.
Selanikio's inspiration for EpiSurveyor came when he was working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and found that current means of disease surveillance and immunization programs were paper-based, making them ecologically unsound, labor intensive, and very slow -- sometimes taking more than a year to assimilate into a data base.
Selenikio was determined to create a simple open-source software program for health workers in developing countries. He co-founded DataDyne, a nonprofit organization devoted to information and communication of technologies for public health and development, to serve as the database for his newly developed EpiSurveyor software.
EpiSurveyor is everything that Selenikio intended it to be. The software can be downloaded into PDAs and mobile phones, and local health workers can create their own health surveys and monitor forms, collect data, and then retrieve supporting care and treatment information from the DataDyne data base. The World Health Organization, participating minitries of health, the United Naitons Foundation, and the Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership are assisting DataDyne in training and equipping health workers in 20 sub-Saharan African countries.
EpiSurveyor is credited with making a tremendous impact on epidemics in Africa, helping to reduce measles deaths by streamlining the inoculation of children, providing new information on HIV, and helping to contain a polio outbreak. EpiSurveyor has enabled health workers to become fully self-sufficient in programming, designing, and deploying health surveys. It has eliminated the need for costly outside consultants, and has obviated the need for paper and manual data entry. The software enables full cycle data collection, from surveillance of diseases affecting populations to evaluating treatments, to monitoring the success of treatments in preventing outbreaks and improving health.
Applications for the 2010 $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability are now available at the Lemelson website. Each year, the award recognizes and supports an inventor or innovator whose work enhances economic opportunities and community well-being. For questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.