Johns Hopkins Students Win Save a Life Maternal Health Challenge


'Save a Life Maternal Health Challenge'

The Maternal Health Challenge was launched in part with ABC News and the Duke Global Health Institute for university students -- undergraduate, graduates and professional students -- to design emerging innovations in maternal health care. With support from the Lemelson Foundation, the challenge encouraged students from around the world to submit a five-minute video explaining their idea for improving maternal health.

"Some of the submissions were from students who are clearly very passionate and personally invested in their ideas and I was impressed by the teams that had done user testing," judge Timothy Prestero, CEO of Design that Matters, said. "Getting media attention for these ideas could lead to a lot of fantastic, serendipitous connections."

Michael H. Merson, founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute, said, "Universities are an ideal setting for taking a good idea, experimenting with it, testing it, changing it and then deploying it into the world. That's why the Duke Global Health Institute was pleased to participate in this challenge. We know university students are inspired to make a difference and there's no better way to make a difference than to improve the lives of mothers and children."

Two runners-up from Harvard University and Tulane University were also selected, and will receive mentorship from the Lemelson Foundation network. The runners up from Harvard University were Chitra Akileswaran, Nazaneen Homaifar and Cyrus Yamin. The Harvard team developed a device called pelvimtery, which measures the likelihood a woman is at high-risk of obstructed labor.

The Tulane University team included Cameron Taylor, Marta Bornstein, Justin Colvard, Neha Sinha and Andrew Hebert. The team developed a product called MaTea, a loose leaf tea fortified with daily doses of iron and folic acid suitable for women of reproductive age. To learn more about their project and to view their video submission.

The Challenge entries were judged by a distinguished panel of global health experts.

Brooke Barnes, Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health Team, CARE USA

Lisa Carty, Deputy Director, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Global Health Policy Center

Kaitlin Christenson, Director, Global Health Technologies Coalition

Michael Free, Vice President and Senior Advisor for Technologies, PATH

Pape Gaye, CEO, Intrahealth International

Dr. Sathya Jeganathan, Chengalpattu Government Medical College, Tamil Nadu, India

Timothy Prestero, CEO, Design that Matters

To learn more about the Duke Global Health Institute, visit

To learn more about the Lemelson Foundation, visit

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