Dr. William Cherniak, an alumnus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was recently featured in a New York Times article about a promising hand-held scanner that could bring high-quality ultrasound scanning technology to remote parts of the world, often for the first time. Dr. Cherniak received his MPH from the Bloomberg School in 2016.
The April 15 article, “In African Villages, These Phones Become Ultrasound Scanners,” recounts the rollout of the Butterfly iQ . The battery-powered Butterfly, as the article describes it, is about the size of an electric shaver, contains microchips that make it less likely to break if dropped, fits in a coat pocket and uses a cell phone as a monitor.
The article notes that the scanner has huge potential in rural Africa, Asia and Latin America, where the nearest X-ray machine may be hours away and the only computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners may be in a country’s capital. Two-thirds of the world’s population gets no imaging at all, Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, Butterfly’s founder, told the Times. He’s donated scanners to medical charities working in 13 low-income countries, seven of them in Africa. Several went to Bridge to Health, a Canadian charity that Dr. Cherniak founded six years ago, the article notes. It works closely with Kihefo, a medical charity based in western Uganda.
The scanners have primarily been used to check for pneumonia, a major killer of children in poor countries that is frequently misdiagnosed. Dr. Cherniak’s team is now using the devices to scan for other conditions, hoping to tap its diagnostic potential.
Dr. Cherniak received his MD from the University of Calgary.Friday Letter Submission