A new hub for discussing technology policies applied to global health, the Institute for Technology and Global Health is launching in January 2021.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has shown that the application of technology to health challenges requires combining technological expertise with in-depth understanding of the policy-making process, the social barriers to technology deployment, and the ethical constraints of its operation. This is particularly true at a time of crisis, when the misalignment between those elements has had devastating effects on individual well-being and on countries’ economic stability.
While thoughtful technology development can provide the tools to streamline solutions to public health issues, even the best technology may be ineffective if it is unresponsive to the unique goals and context of each jurisdiction.
PathCheck Foundation—a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the development of technology to fight the COVID-19 pandemic—recognizes that need. In response, it has gathered within its newly founded Institute world-class expertise to complement its technological capabilities with substantial—and most importantly, independent—interrogation of the policy and ethical requirements that can make technology useful to public health authorities.
In order to achieve that goal, the Institute will bring together scholars, practitioners, and civil society to critically—and constructively—engage three important questions:
· what can technological tools do to improve public health around the world;
· what are the short, medium, and long term benefits or side effects of those implementations;
· and how the design of programs that apply technology to public health can most effectively yield benefits while minimizing its side effects.
With a collaborative team spanning across multiple countries, the Institute is already partnering with jurisdictions and multilateral organizations to study the use of technology in the response to COVID-19 around the world. It is also designing a series of public events (exclusively on Zoom for the time being, another interesting application of technology to public health) and educational programs (also remote, in an exercise of social distancing as well as productive inclusion of voices across borders) to spur fruitful discussions with multiple stakeholders about the needs that technology is set to meet and best practices for implementation.
But none of that can be possible without your input and active engagement. Feedback from civil society (a.k.a. you) is a critical piece to effective policy-making. We strive to create a transparent and inclusive system where anybody feels compelled to participate in crucial discussions that, by the very definition of policy-making, will affect everyone’s lives. So engage in the debate. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive the latest news on our initiatives. Comment on our action and criticize it, suggest new approaches, propose new programs or partnerships. Or simply tell us what issues you are facing in using technology to support your health and that of your community. We are all ears and the mic is yours!
Stay safe, and stay tuned.