As far as day-to-day operations go, radio silence on our blog is a good sign! The big news? We’ll be field testing in Amman, Jordan – starting tomorrow. The Dunia Health team has made an insane amount of progress over the past few weeks, and while we hope to expound upon some of these happenings later on – to outline these steps in a way we hope might serve as a reference point to another social ventures somewhere down the line – but wanted to first provide a brief outline of the many firsts we’ve experienced over the past month.
First fundraiser: Brazos Bookstore, the Houston icon, graciously offered to donate 15% of proceeds to Dunia Health for a two hour event. We can’t thank those who came out enough – being able to talk to our friends, peers, and fellow Houstonianins about what we’ve been working on was an incredible experience.
First conference: We pitched in the student contest at SwitchPoint 2013, sponsored by Intrahealth! It was wonderful to meet with so many passionate, smart people doing neat things to solve tough problems. Presenting alongside some true innovators (including the winner of the Gates Toilet Challenge!) was an honor and a privilege, and we were inspired by the way so many people traditionally working in sub-Saharan Africa reacted to similar health problems in the Middle East.
First pitch: We were given an opportunity to present at the Houston chapter of the National Arab American Medical Association. Sensing a theme? Houston is an amazingly invigorating place to be working as a nonprofit biotech startup. The resources provided by the Texas Medical Center are out of this world, and the insightful questions and advice these doctors asked and provided was invaluable. We’re proud to announce that NAAMA is our main financial supporter for field testing this summer!
First field interview: We organized pilot testing with UNRWA in Amman over the phone – albeit at midnight in Houston, with one international phone and some scrappy ingenuity required to manage a conference call!
Right now, Cherie Fathy, our chief clinical liaison, is on her way to Jordan. First things first: she’ll be securing the hardware we need to send mass texts to patients and making sure everything runs smoothly. Afterwards, she’ll spend some time shadowing in the clinic, signing up patients, and meeting with other potential stakeholders for feedback. Batoul and I just got back from a trip to Austin, where we met with with a friend of a friend for some advice on IP protection (and where UNRWA’s Head of Health reform was coincidentally visiting!). We received some good feedback to fuel our final push before I join Cherie in Amman on the 13th.