"Solving Public Health Problems Through Innovation"
SOLVING PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEMS IN... SANITATION
Featuring: Liz Morris
A few years ago, Liz Morris began graduate school at UNC looking to help improve lives in developing countries. Her research made her confront the realities of poor sanitation caused by a lack of infrastructure and water. A new toilet was necessary: it had to be hygienic, cost-efficient, waterless, odorless, and environmentally friendly. She realized that this academic solution might actually have real-world business potential.
With degrees in packaging science and engineering, her academic background did little to prepare her to become an entrepreneur - but that is just what she has become, a toilet entrepreneur who has founded Sanitation Creations to help the world, one toilet at a time.
The innovative toilet she has brought to market, called "the Dungaroo," uses specially-lined bags that kill pathogens, which are then sealed and flushed into its base after use. She presented her startup to Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mohammad Yunus last year making it as a finalist in a state-wide social business competition, won the 2012 Cherokee Challenge, and was named a Blackstone Entrepreneurship Network Company and a Green Plus Mover Company. Her startup also won the Alumni Track of the Carolina Challenge and won the 2013 Green Plus Sole Proprietor of the year. She has been featured on Dream Big America, Forbes, and NBC, among others.
SOLVING PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEMS IN... WATER TESTING
Featuring: Alice Wang
Alice Wang is an Environmental Sciences and Engineering doctoral candidate at the Gillings School of Global Public health. Upon the result of groundbreaking reseearch by Dr. Mark Sobsey and Dr. Ku McMahan, she co-founded Aquagenx, a company providing innovative water quality testing products that detect potential health risks and help eliminate the millions of annual deaths due to contaminated drinking water.
The Compartment Bag Test (CBT) is a portable, simple, household-level test that detects and quantifies fecal bacteria in water without the need for a lab, electricity, or expertise. It can be used by individuals, non-governmental organizations, water utilities and disaster/emergency responders for ongoing water quality monitoring. It has the potential to prevent the spread of infectious disease that kills millions annually by providing actionable data to inform safe water policies and programs, and by helping to stimulate behavior change among people and communities around the world.
This year, Aquagenx received the USAID Pionners Prize of 2013 and last year, won first place in the Carolina Challenge, was one of four winners of UNC's Social Innovation Challenge, and also won the South Regional Champion in the Walmart Better Living Business Plan Challenge. Aquagenx has been featured on the USAID Innovation Catalog, in the Digital Journal, and in the University Gazette.
SOLVING PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEMS IN... CLEAN AIR
Featuring: William Vizuete
William Vizuete is an associate professor in the environmental sciences and engineering department at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. He is not satisfied with working in a lab and wants to see his research benefit the world, working toward reducing the effects of air pollutants on human health.
He has been using the UNC outdoor smog chamber, an air research laboratory on the roof of McGavran-Greenberg Hall (the only model of its kind in the U.S.), to measure the effects of air pollutants on human lung cells.
He uses high performance computers and three-dimensional simulations to model the atmosphere to try to improve our understanding about how air pollution forms. This knowledge will help advise policymakers enabling them to develop effective strategies to improve air quality, creating a healthier environment for everyone.
SOLVING PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEMS IN... TOBACCO CONTROL
Featuring: Allison Myers
Allison Myers is a PhD student in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is the Co-Founder of Counter Tobacco and also serves as Deputy Director of the startup nonprofit Counter Tools. Both organizations offer resources and tools to empower government health departments and community partners to pass policies that counteract retail tobacco marketing and promote health.
Tobacco use remains the leading case of preventable death and disability in the United States. Every year in the United States, tobacco kills more than 440,000 people and costs more than $150 billion in health care expenses. The point of sale (typically a convenience store, gas station, or small grocery store) is currently the lead channel for tobacco industry marketing, with tobacco companies vying for brand impressions, shelf space, and consumer loyalty. In 2010, the tobacco industry spent $7 billion dollars on ads, displays and discount pricing at retail outlets. This prompts smoking initiation, encourages tobacco use, and undermines quit attempts.
The solution? Counter Tools' store audit and store mapping tools help document and visually display tobacco retailer data to directly support policy change, taking public health advocacy from a community problem to a policy solution.
- When: 5:30 - 7:30pm
- Start: 20 November 2013
- End: 20 November 2013