As video footage of the earth from outer space scrolled across the screen of the Geneen Auditorium at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, NASA astronaut Ron Garan challenged everyone to realize “if we can fly to the moon and back, we can work together to create real change and live in a world where nobody dies of preventable diseases. Nothing is impossible.” Garan’s presentation was just one of many inspiring discussions that took place while leaders in global health
convened on Duke’s campus as part of the first Symposium on Scaling Global Health Innovations hosted by the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) including the first cohort of healthcare entrepreneurs from around the world.
Panelists and keynote speakers representing USAID, Investors’ Circle, Duke and IPIHD reinforced the need to redefine traditional concepts about international development, partnerships, aid, and impact to collaboratively support efforts that truly make strides in global health. Closing keynote speaker, Ariel Pablos-Mendéz, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at USAID, praised USAID’s partnership with Duke through SEAD and emphasized that Duke’s “research, imagination, and spirit of entrepreneurship will be critical for us [USAID] to both fill the knowledge gaps, but more importantly, to go out into the field and make a difference.”
Following the presentations, SEAD’s first accelerator cohort members were given an opportunity to highlight their work and illustrate their impact. These thirteen inspiring organizations provide a wide array of innovative health solutions ranging from mobile technologies that save lives to health clinics that provide efficient, high-quality, low-cost care. As part of SEAD’s accelerator model, the innovators arrived on campus prior to the Symposium in order to participate in intensive workshops led by faculty and staff from across Duke as well as Investors’ Circle to start the work of the accelerator which is aimed at supporting the scaling of proven social enterprises around the world.. During the Symposium’s poster session, attendees were able to network with the SEAD innovators, discuss opportunities for collaboration, and learn more about how these organizations are changing the face of healthcare.
This SEAD Symposium was the first of many opportunities for students, global health leaders, and innovators to connect and work together through Duke. The Symposium is a wonderful example that, “global partnerships are part of Duke’s DNA” as Dr. Michael Merson, Director of the Duke Global Health Institute, stated in his opening remarks. Undoubtedly, the most exciting aspect of the 2013 Symposium was that it celebrated the launch of SEAD, a trailblazing initiative that truly focuses on creating inter-disciplinary approaches to tackle pressing challenges in global health and international development.
SEAD brings together interdisciplinary partners through a coordinated effort across Duke University and leverages institutional relationships and networks to create an integrated global health social entrepreneurship hub for diverse stakeholders across the globe. Funded by USAID through the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), SEAD is a joint initiative aiming to provide social entrepreneurs in global health with the knowledge, systems, and networks needed to succeed. Through this program, SEAD will capture lessons learned and policy implications to ensure that its work impacts both entrepreneurs on the ground and the broader development community.
For more information about SEAD, please visit our website at www.DukeSEAD.org, and to view pictures of the event, please visit http://flic.kr/ps/2rKnQH .