Archive for the ‘Social Impact’ Category

Authored by Faculty Advisor: Kara Palamountain 

For the first time, the GIM Global Health Initiative (GHI) class traveled to India in March. For those of you who don’t know, GHI’s mission is to develop and commercialize diagnostic devices for bottom-of-the-pyramid populations living in resource-limited settings. By partnering with industry, academia, and nonprofit organizations, GHI has been able to develop an early infant diagnostic for HIV as well as a molecular diagnostic for HIV and Tuberculosis (TB). In this context, the class has traditionally focused on African countries. However, India has the world’s second largest population suffering from HIV/AIDS and the largest TB burden in the world, so our class of 30 (plus a 9-month old adorable baby girl) headed to the land of biryani and cricket.

The main purpose of our trip was to identify the key steps and organizations involved in launching a diagnostic device in India. We also wanted to get feedback on the two products from the end-users. Where would it make most sense to place these products in the complex network of healthcare facilities? What could be changed to make these devices more successful in India? Ultimately, the answers to these questions would help us formulate a strategy for GHI involvement in India in the future.

We started the trip in New Delhi, spent the weekend in Kerala, traveled to Hyderabad for four days, and ended up back in New Delhi before heading back to E-town and Chicago.

New Delhi

Organizations We Met With: Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NACO (National AIDS Control Organization), RNTCP (Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme), Apollo Hospitals, Becton Dickinson

Highlights: Bike riding through Old Delhi, Conjoint Analysis session with RNTCP, lots of pashmina scarf shopping at Dilli Haat, breakfast at the Shangri-La with Lucky the Bread Man at your service, visiting some of the largest TB clinics and hospitals in the country, Ben S. dislocating his shoulder on the dance floor after the Kellogg Alumni Mixer and really delicious dinners at the ITC Maurya and Park Balluchi.

Crazy Story: The first night in Delhi, a local merchant forcibly applied henna to Jesse’s right hand by India Gate (allegedly). Jesse is now very aware that henna is mostly for women, especially after trying to hide his hand in meetings all week.


Organizations We Met With: None – this was our weekend off!

Highlights: Cooling off in the amazing resort pool with giant water-spewing elephants, houseboat tour of Kerala, Lindsey F’s morning yoga sessions in paradise, the most relaxing spa treatments ever and Whit’s “Dawson’s Creek” theme party efforts in the middle of the backwaters

Crazy Story: Rebecca R. and Louise A. are terrified by an intruder in their bungalow. After alerting all the hotel staff, it’s actually probably just a bird. They both still don’t sleep all night.


Organizations We Met With: TB Alert India, APSACS (Andra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society), the State TB Controller’s office, Vimta Labs, PHMI (Public Health Management Institute), a DAPCU (District AIDS Prevention and Control Unit) in Hyderabad

Highlights: Charminar and the Spice markets, lakefront dinners, rural clinic visits and state-government meetings, home-cooked Hyderabadi meal, seeing/understanding/utilizing the ubiquitous head-nod motion that we’d heard so much about

Crazy Story: Hitting up Bottles and Chimney’s (not Chutes and Ladders) and depleting their entire beer supply in amazing beer towers.

Agra and the Taj Mahal

Highlights: Seeing the Taj Mahal and taking multiple jumping pictures, eating a delicious lunch at a 5 star resort and enjoying refreshments on the 6 hour bus ride back to Delhi. It may have been the longest day of all of our lives, but it was also one of the best.

In summary, GIM GHI had a really productive class and trip. We worked hard, we played hard and we came back with some really valuable insights we are looking forward to sharing with academia, industry, and the rest of the GHI team this May.


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