May 30, 2014 11:00 AM
Dr. Richard Oberhelman, chair of the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, directs the program in collaboration with a consortium of universities and organizations in the U.S., Peru and Argentina.
The four postdoctoral fellows are Dr. Cynthia Anticona, Dr. Melena Correa, Holger Mayta and Monica Pajuelo.
Rural health facilities in low-income countries are often staffed with inexperienced medical staff with limited accessibility to diagnostic equipment. The symptoms of pneumonia can be very similar to malaria but the diseases are treated differently, making it important to distinguish between them.
The proposed technology uses ultrasound which is less expensive than traditional X-ray machines and does not involve radiation exposure. Unlike conventional ultrasound, however, the simplified ultrasound technique would simply scan the chest and give a normal/abnormal result. Artificial intelligence would “train” the device to recognize abnormal scans.
Grand Challenges Canada is modeled after a similar Gates Foundation program.
With co-funding from the Peruvian government, the project has earned a little over $200,000 in seed money. If the fellows can show results with the new technique, they could earn additional resources to bring their idea to full development.
Although these fellowships will end in October, Oberhelman says that the project has effectively launched the group into future careers. Tulane faculty members and other partners will continue to collaborate with them as they move forward.
Dee Boling is director of communications for the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
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