DIMACS Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology Seminar Series

Title: Gadgets for good: How computer researchers can help save lives in poor countries.

Speaker: Neal Lesh, Harvard University

Date: April 11, 2005 2:30 - 3:45 pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 431, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


The widening economic gap between countries is paralleled by disparities in health outcomes. A stark example is that the life expectancy from birth is estimated to be 46 years in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to 78 years in industrialized countries. Worse still, the expected life span in many poor countries has been dropping, largely due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, there seems to be growing commitment in the global community to address today's public health challenges. Computer technology has the potential to play an important role in the efforts to improve healthcare in poor settings. The useful application areas includes electronic medical record systems, decision support, healthcare education, telemedicine, data gathering, and a wide range of communication systems. In this talk, I will review what I have learned while getting a masters in international health and discuss several ongoing and possible applications of computer technology in settings with severe resource limitations.

Brief bio: Neal Lesh received his PhD from the University of Washington, in plan recognition, in 1997. After a short post-doc at the University of Rochester, he worked as a research scientist at the MERL computer lab in Boston on a variety of human-computer interaction projects until 2004. He's due to receive a master in international public health from the Harvard School of Public Health in June.