Nearly 120 students representing departments and schools across the university attended Monday's Duke Ebola Innovation Challenge kickoff event. They will join about 60 others in teams of four to five students focusing on either strengthening health worker capacities, or boosting and tracking communication abilities. Each team will submit their solutions, and finalists will present their ideas to the public on Wednesday, November 5th from 6:00 - 7:30 pm at the McClendon Auditorium in the Fuqua School of Business.
At Monday's event, students heard from Cameron Wolfe, Lead of the Duke Ebola Rapid Response Team at Duke University Health System, who discussed the current state of the epidemic and provided base knowledge for the challenge. Erin Worsham, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Fuqua School of Business, followed with a presentation addressing key stakeholders needed to combat the epidemic. She encouraged students to develop creative and innovative solutions and harness the diverse backgrounds of students as they tackle the challenge.
Read our featured student profiles below to learn more about the varied motivations and backgrounds of challenge participants.
Good luck to all the teams!
"I lived in East Africa for five years and so I feel connected to what is happening in West Africa right now with Ebola. I’m also interested in the design work that IDEO does and am interested in them as a potential employer so this is a chance for me to get another view of the work that they do.”
"The team that I am on is already doing similar sort of work through the Bass Connections project we are a part of looking at the use of chlorhexidine to reduce the infant mortality rates in Kenya. The Ebola Innovation Challenge is a good chance for us to practice the same critical thinking skills we will need to be successful in the Bass Connections project.”
My friends and I thought this would be a unique opportunity to use what we’ve learned so far in our time studying global health at Duke and apply it to a real world problem. We’re all excited for the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment and learn the different perspectives other people have to the challenge.
"As a member of the SEAD Student Advisory Committee, I got to help put together the Ebola Innovation Challenge. I also had the chance to participate in the case competition SEAD put together last spring and it was such a great experience working with a diverse team of students that I wanted the opportunity to join another challenge like that."
"I’m from Kenya and while the Ebola epidemic is not currently affecting my country, Kenya has strong transient roots and an open society so I keep thinking “What if?” This event gives me a chance to challenge myself to be innovative and an opportunity to work together in a collaborative team. The seriousness of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa led my friends and I to form a team of students all from Kenya, with different coursework backgrounds for the challenge.”