This year the Center for Social Entrepreneurship will be hosting its fourth annual January Symposium which will take place on January 22-24, 2015. The symposium will challenge participants to think about how innovators have an impact in the field of public health. CSE Vision Award recipients Jennifer Staple-Clark, Founder of Unite for Sight, and Mitch Besser, Founder of Mothers2Mothers, will deliver insightful keynote addresses. In addition, the symposium will bring a variety of thought-provoking workshops, live Skype conferencing sessions as well as our first Hackathon with national and international innovators and Middlebury students on the future of global health.
One of the most anticipated events at the symposium is the public conversation on Thursday led by Staple-Clark titled “Responsible Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship,” with Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Svea Closser and two Middlebury students, Hannah Blackburn ’17 and Sayre White ’15. In 2000, Staple-Clark, then a sophomore at Yale University, founded Unite For Sight in her dorm room. Now the organization is a leader in global health education and in providing cost-effective care to some of the world’s poorest people. Its Global Impact Corps offers year-round healthcare delivery in three countries: Ghana, India, and Honduras. Volunteers for the organization–students and professionals–train with Unite for Sight’s doctors.
On Friday, January 23, at 7 p.m., Dr. Besser will participate in a keynote conversation,
“Communities Caring for Communities: A Vision for Better Health Care,” with Pam Berenbaum, coordinator of Global Health Programs at Middlebury. In 1999, Besser, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, joined the University of Cape Town’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, where he created mothers2mothers, in which mothers living with HIV are employed to work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centers, educating and supporting pregnant women and new mothers with HIV. These Mentor Mothers, as they are called, reduce the workload of doctors and nurses and increase the effectiveness of interventions that protect babies from HIV infection and keep mothers healthy and alive. Two Mentor Mothers, Queen Mda and Nozandulela Samela, will serve as workshop leaders during the symposium. Mothers2mothers has reached more than 1.2 million HIV-positive mothers in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
New this year as part of the symposium will be a hackathon, which will bring together students, faculty, staff, and community members to compete as teams to create a one-minute public service announcement regarding a public health issue. On January 23, teams will begin work on their announcements, which may take the form of a video, radio spot, dance, or another medium. Team members will present their announcements for judging at the close of the symposium on Saturday, January 24. Sayre White, Middlebury senior and Co-President of GlobeMed, encourages all students to get involved with this year’s symposium, “This symposium is a brilliant opportunity for anyone who is seeking a channel for their creative energy, and one that facilitates and encourages deep, critical attention to some of the most pressing global health issues of our time.”
For more information on the speakers, events, and the schedule, check out: