WWST INAUGURAL DISTINGUISHED LECTURER
Dr. Rebecca R. Richards-Kortum
Nearly 90% of the world’s children live in developing countries; half live on less than $2/day. The health challenges these children face are enormous, yet the vast majority of healthcare R&D is directed toward solving health challenges of the developed world. This talk will describe efforts to engineer appropriate high-performance, low-cost science & technology platforms and to develop models for sustainable dissemination of these technologies. For example, we are working to develop Nursery of the Future for district hospitals in the developing world, which includes a comprehensive set of low-cost, highly effective technologies to help newborns survive and thrive. We estimate that a neonatal nursery of the future for a district hospital serving 300,000 people in developing countries could be outfitted for less than $5,000. This is less than the cost of one western style ventilator.
Guided by the belief that all of the world’s people deserve access to health innovation, Professor Rebecca Richards-Kortum’s research and teaching focus on developing low-cost, high-performance technology for low-resource settings. She is known for providing vulnerable populations in the developing world access to life-saving health technology, focusing on diseases and conditions that cause high morbidity and mortality, such as cervical and oral cancer, premature birth, and malaria. Professor Richards-Kortum’s work in appropriate point-of-care screening technologies has earned her induction into the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Rebecca is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University.