The Grand Challenges grant seeks to identify emerging leaders in global health research and reward their innovative ideas with a hefty start-up grant. My idea is something called “Gwitter”, which is essentially a social networking platform akin to Twitter, but which links clinicians in low income countries with specialists in high income countries, for the purposes of allowing for timely access to high quality specialist consultation. Why? Because lack of such access is one of the great causes of preventable deaths in the developing world.
Gwitter is a little more complicated than just a new kind of Twitter. We aim to create an efficient online linguistic translator and a rapid speech-text-speech converter so that language and technical savvy will not be barriers to its global use. But most importantly, we will create an algorithm for ranking responses from multiple specialists so that the most appropriate answer to any query is the first that reaches the person who asked the question. In this way we hope to leverage the vast untapped wisdom, skills and energy of professionals in the developed workd. Instead of asking for weeks of donated time, we instead ask for mere seconds.
(And yes, I’m aware that one of the great barriers to this project is the potential liability on the part of the consulting specialists… that’s one of the things we will work on, if we get the money.)
So why am I telling you? Because there’s a public voting process involved in the grant competition. I’m asking you, dear reader, to vote for my project by visiting this link and following the instructions:
Now, be aware that my video SUCKS. This is because it was put together on a moving train 10 minutes before the deadline. Do not interpret this as me not caring about the project. It’s just that I was negotiating for a more professional video production service up until the last minute, and when that fell through my only option was to film something quickly on my webcam.
So please judge it on the merits of the project. I hope you will vote for Gwitter!