This July, creative thinkers from around the world will gather in Washington, DC, to pitch their ideas for a chance to secure funding that will take their innovations to the next level. While it may sound like an episode of Shark Tank, the event, called the DevelopmentXChange, is dedicated to finding innovative ideas that address a pressing global health challenge: maternal and newborn mortality.
[Photo: Dr. William Story]
Dr. William Story, assistant professor of community and behavioral health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, is among the participants invited to the DevelopmentXChange July 26-28. The event – an inspired mashup of tradeshow, networking opportunities, and mentoring workshops – brings together 50 finalists selected from nearly 650 applications submitted to Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development.
Story, along with co-principal investigator Dr. Louise Day, a clinician-researcher practicing in Bangladesh, will be presenting their innovation, an illustration-based decision-making tool that helps pregnant, semi-literate women and their families in rural Bangladesh know how and when to seek skilled care for the safe delivery of their baby.
The researchers are seeking $250,000 in seed funding at the DevelopmentXChange event to further test, refine, and evaluate the pictorial partograph in a clinical setting before finalizing it for use at home by rural families and caregivers. The study would be conducted in LAMB Hospital located in Dinajpur, a rural district in northwest Bangladesh.
“It’s exciting, because our tool is low cost, low tech, and focused on behavior change,” says Dr. Story. “We’re different, because a lot of the finalists are more technology-driven.”
In addition to Story and Day, the research team includes co-investigators Drs. Shirajum Munira, a Bangladeshi researcher; Stacy Saha, director of the LAMB Management Information Systems- Research Department; and Kavita Singh, a research associate professor in the department of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina.