Last month, over 300 public health students and professionals gathered for the annual Triangle Global Health conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. The day’s lectures, panels, and breakout sessions were devoted to a global health buzzword: innovation.
Innovation, however, is more than simply a trendy topic. It is implementing new systems to effectively improve how we solve critical global health issues impacting the world today. But how do we know these innovations we spend so much of our time and brainpower cultivating are making a positive impact?
MiracleFeet’s Executive Director Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld found the answer to that question in a rather unexpected place: under a thatched roof hut in a remote village in Liberia.
She shared her experience traveling through Liberia with New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof and meeting a young boy named Henroy, who was nine years old and had neglected clubfoot. Henroy’s remarkable journey from a boy hidden away at home to one enrolled in school and making friends was the result of dedicated local partners working within a proven model. The process of innovating – of developing the right tools to solve the problem you want to tackle – can take years of hard work, but at that moment, it all seemed to come together, said Chesca.
Even then, she continued, “our work never feels done.”
But, Chesca reminded attendees, innovation and careful execution can come together to bring about lasting change. “Innovation, coupled with careful implementation and teams of trained professionals that care as much we do, makes a different future possible for Henroy and for future generations of kids born with clubfoot.”
Read Nicholas Kristof’s profile of MiracleFeet in the New York Times.
Read more about innovation at MiracleFeet.
Watch the entire 9-minute video of Chesca’s speech at TGH 2018: