Tough public health challenges? IBM's new grant program (and tech) may solve them

Thu, 2016-03-17 17:22 -- Compassionate C...

Nearly 130 cities around the world have benefited from IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge, the community service program that sends teams of company experts to work with city leaders on urban problems, from transportation to economic development. And the company's Corporate Service Corps, sometimes dubbed a private sector version of the Peace Corps, has worked on service projects in 38 countries.

Now Council Lead Partner IBM has launched a similar initiative focused on public health issues. Civil, government and social sector organizations are invited to propose innovative health projects for IBM's health and technology problem solvers to address. The competitive process will result in up to five winners later this year who   will receive pro bono engagements with an estimated commercial value of $500,000 each. Deadline for entries is April 20; get details here.

Communities need help
"A growing number of governments and not-for-profits have been following the success of IBM Corporate Service Corps and IBM Smarter Cities Challenge -- particularly the projects that have addressed health issues -- and have asked IBM to help with health issues in their own communities, and to share our cognitive computing expertise," said Jen Crozier, IBM's Vice President of Global Citizenship Initiatives. 

The objective is to help communities surmount challenges that currently limit access to quality healthcare. IBM experts will work with organizations to address social and environmental determinants of health, such as safe water and sanitation, stable housing, physical fitness and nutrition.

Using data and analytics to increase resilience
"IBM has tremendous potential to improve the health of the most vulnerable populations across the globe," said International Medical Corps President & CEO Nancy Aossey, whose organization has partnered with IBM on health-related projects in the past. "Our partnership with IBM has strengthened our capacity to use data and analytics to increase community resilience to crises, and we look forward to continuing work with IBM to help underserved communities survive and thrive."

Both IBM's Corporate Service Corps and Smarter Cities Challenge have included health-related projects. For example, IBM pro bono teams worked with mayors, government leaders and non-profits to strengthen data infrastructure, collection and analysis to address food deserts in Birmingham, Alabama; chronic asthma in Louisville, Kentucky; and ambulance responses in Memphis, Tennessee. Other health-related projects have included efforts to improve planning and operations in Ghana, Africa and Cusco, Peru to combat mother-to-child transmission of HIV and cervical cancer. 

Learn more here >>

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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