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Babson Participates in Global Surgery Hack-a-thon in Mbarara, Uganda

Global Surgery
Babson student Angela Lin presenting at the hack-a-thon, photo credit: Brian Roth

Eleven students and faculty from Babson College attended the CAMTech Uganda Global Surgery Hack-a-thon at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) on August 26-28, 2016. Through the Leonard A. Schlesinger Fund for Global Healthcare Entrepreneurship, Babson partnered with The Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) as the lead event sponsor and curriculum adviser. The event brought together over 250 innovators from more than 30 universities and organizations across Africa, North America, and Asia to co-create surgical and systems innovations for low and middle income countries (LMICs).

The event served as an open innovation platform for a global community of clinicians, academics, engineers, entrepreneurs, industry experts, and end-users to co-create innovations over a 48-hour period. Teams— through cross-disciplinary collaboration, mentorship, time/resource constraints, and award incentives—rapidly accelerated ideas into breakthrough innovations that have the potential to shift the paradigm of surgical care globally.

Babson students brought their business lens and expertise to the ideation process, resulting in teams that were not only cross-functional but also able to provide significant business value to global health challenges. At the end of the two-day event, an expert panel of judges selected seven winning teams, several of which included Babson students.  The 2016 hack-a-thon -awarded over $2,500 in prizes to projects that ranged from technical and device driven concepts to systems and process changes within the Ugandan healthcare system.

The college sponsored a $1,000 Babson prize for the innovation that addressed three delays found by The Lancet Commission’s Global Surgery 2030 Report to significantly impact accessibility and availability of surgical care: the delay in seeking care, the delay in reaching care, and the delay in receiving care.

In addition, the college also hosted a workshop on Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® during the CAMTech Clinical Summit, which took place prior to the hack-a-thon.

“Through this partnership with CAMTech, we were able to give Babson students the opportunity to innovate with individuals from diverse backgrounds and skillsets,” says Faculty Co-Director for The Schlesinger Fund for Global Healthcare Entrepreneurship Wiljeana Jackson Glover “Together these teams began to address real healthcare problems in a non-Western cultural context.  The partnership also furthers Babson’s commitment to Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® and social, environmental, economic responsibility, and sustainability (SEERS) , testing our act-learn-build framework and our ability to create social and economic value simultaneously in a global service setting. We hope that the ideas generated at the Hack-a-thon can be furthered as business ventures and we look forward to a long term relationship with the winners as well as with CAMTech.”

All of the winning teams now have the opportunity to join CAMTech’s business accelerator through its online platform and Babson will be an advisor to some of the teams through this program. In service of its commitment to continue empowering global heath entrepreneurs, Babson will also be providing additional resources to others who are interested in moving forward with a meaningful global health innovation.

About CAMTech

Based at Massachusetts General Hospital, The Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) is a global network of academic, corporate, and implementation partners whose mission is to build entrepreneurial capacity and accelerate medical technology development through an open innovation platform. CAMTech innovators who come from public health, engineering and business work with end-users in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) to develop disruptive innovations that have the potential to achieve widespread public health impact. CAMTech UGANDA is administratively housed at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and supports local innovators to transform ideas into solutions that can revolutionize health outcomes for people living in Uganda and across the globe.

About The Leonard A. Schlesinger Fund for Global Healthcare Entrepreneurship

The Leonard A. Schlesinger Fund for Global Healthcare Entrepreneurship at Babson College was founded with a commitment to global health and a desire to explore the ways in which Babson’s methodology of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® could benefit the field. Funded by the Kletjian Foundation in honor of Babson’s 12th President, Babson has assembled a team of global healthcare leaders and educators to explore the state of global surgery and health through the lens of entrepreneurship and business organization principles. These efforts further highlight the necessity of unconventional global health solutions and showcase the potential world-changing results of applying Babson’s methodology of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® in this space. The Kletjian Foundation also has endowed chairs and centers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary to ensure there is a collaborative network working together to solve these complex issues.