August 18, 2009

Tweet for a cure to end SMA


JD LasicaThe Gwendolyn Strong Foundation is among the new breed of foundations making creative use of social media.

Founder Bill Strong, whose 22-month-old daughter, Gwendolyn, has a terminal, degenerative disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Bill writes in to tell us: “SMA is the leading genetic killer of children, yet almost completely unheard of. There is currently no treatment and no cure, but there is hope as researchers have publicly stated that a cure is attainable in the next five years if provided the resources. As you can imagine, it is our mission to raise awareness about SMA and help put an end to this horrible disease.”

“SMA is the leading genetic killer of children, yet almost completely unheard of.”

One way Bill and the foundation are raising awareness is through their inventive use of Twitter. They built an app — — that allows users to have the foundation tweet the person’s Congressperson when he or she enters a zip code. The tweet encourages legislators to co-sponsor legislation currently in Congress, the SMA Treatment Acceleration Act, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI, and its counterpart in the Senate, S. 1158. (See the news announcement.) The legislation, if passed, would lead to research to put an end to SMA.

Plunk in your zip code and give it a try. 07407 spits out Twitter IDs and hashtags for:

@senatormenendez – Sen. Robert Menendez (D. NJ)
#RepStevenRothman (D. NJ)
#SenFrankLautenberg (D. NJ)
It is important to me that you cosponsor the #SMATreatmentAccelerationAct, H.R. 2149 & S. 1158!

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April 29, 2009

Secrets and sex education

Secrets and sex education from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaHannah Cordero, program coordinator for the Education Theatre Program of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, tells about the Secrets program geared toward teens through theatrical performances. Educational Theatre Programs served over 360,000 people in Northern California in 2008. Hannah spoke at the recent sex::tech conference in San Francisco.

To see upcoming performances, go to:

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February 23, 2009

Mobile + open source = medical diagnoses on the fly

FrontlineSMS:MedickiwanjaToday sees the launch of an exciting new initiative – FrontlineSMS:Medic – by a growing team of students mobilising around the practical application of mobile technology in global healthcare delivery.

FrontlineSMS:Medic combines Josh Nesbit’s pioneering work on “Mobiles in Malawi” with a mobile version of OpenMRS — an open source medical records system — and an exciting new remote diagnosis tool. In this guest blog post, Josh Nesbit and Lucky Gunasekara talk about the origins of the project, and their plans in the coming months.

Josh: I should be heading off to class, right about now. I’ll go, but not without telling a story, first. A convergence of ideas and people marks the launch of FrontlineSMS:Medic and the team’s embarkation on a quest to do mHealth the right way.

Many of you are familiar with the role FrontlineSMS, a donated laptop, and a bag of recycled cell phones have played in connecting community health workers (CHWs) in Malawi to a rural hospital and its resources. Text messaging is now an integral component of the hospital’s infrastructure. FrontlineSMS has proven intuitively easy to use with strong user buy-in. The program is horizontally scalable, and incredibly cheap to run, matched with indisputable savings in time and costs. Enter Lucky.

President Clinton introduces Lucky

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