News Flash from Puzzler Tower

As Ray Magliozzi, our former mechanic and co-host of Car Talk (NPR People) notes around this time of year, the Puzzler is on vacation.  And, so I am, at least this week, but not wishing to disappoint my devoted readers (all three of you), I offer a short list of sites that I think are interesting to those poking about in global heath, as I do.

In my meanderings while looking for financing for global health start-ups, I found a rare blog about developing diagnostics for the rest of the world, called Testing the Test:  Diagnostics for the Other 90% (Testing the Test).  It’s well-written and has a strong mix of business and technical points.  The author, “toppavak,” is Pavik Shah, who, according to his LinkedIn profile is currently a Ph.D. candidate in engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (P Shah).  He notes that one of his passions is to apply his engineering knowledge to developing “appropriate and cost-effective technologies in developing world health care,” specifically diagnostics.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t posted since August 2009.  Deep into his thesis work?

On Toppavak’s blog is a link to the blog of another UNC student, Namen Shah, who is in an MD/PhD program and aiming to become an infectious disease epidemiologist.  He calls his blog “Topnaman Malaria Blog” (Topnaman), the name derived in some way from a brand of ramen noodles.  Mr. Shah is the recent recipient of a Soros fellowship (UNC PR) and evidently has started a social venture incubator called Veer Labs, LLC (VeerLabs).  I hope to explore this topic in an other posting.  Tip o’ the hat to both these outstanding futurists.

Coming soon to the student-oriented, social entrepreneurship space in the fall is the MIT Global Challenge, an extension of the MIT Public Service Center’s IDEAs competition.  Since its starting in 2001, IDEAs has been focused on students (IDEAs); the Global Challenge aims to bring in MIT’s international alumni base (MIT PSC) to form up teams and generate potentially innovative solutions, a great idea given MIT’s graduates enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and reality, at least in my biased view.  From what I have seen of the beta site, I think the GC team is off to a good start.

Speaking of things MITish,  Global Health Ecosystem @ MIT (GH at MIT) is a compilation of the many threads of global health interest at MIT.  While the site needs some curation to weed out some dead links (don’t we all), it has a useful “Targets” tab to link to other MIT resources from basic science to venturing for students interested in global health.  It also could be better integrated with the Institute’s International Development Network (IDN) and be less academic (i.e., more connected to reality).  It’s chief academician is Dr. Anjali Sastry (A Sastry).

Finally, in the “thoughtful analysis of US global health policy” column is the Kaiser Family Foundation’s site, GH Policy at KFF.  In my humble opinion, the policy analysts there do an excellent job of sifting through the vast US government sand pile to collate, summarize, and analyze the many aspects, financial, legal, and political, of our country’s ever-evolving global health effort.  And sometimes with diagrams for the more visually-oriented.

Happy Fourth.

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