In 2000, Jennifer Staple-Clark, then a sophomore at Yale University, founded Unite For Sight in her dorm room. She hoped to help underserved people in her local community overcome barriers to eye care that resulted in severe vision loss. To expand this impact, the organization put together its first conference in 2004. It was a modest event: one day, about 100 people, 10 dollars for admission. But participants were enthusiastic and it generated some revenue, which Unite for Sight put toward a pilot program, funding eye surgeries in Ghana.
Since then, Unite for Sight has become an acclaimed global NGO, serving 1.5 million patients and facilitating more than 64,000 sight-restoring surgeries in Ghana, India and Honduras. Its Global Health & Innovation Conference has gone on to become the world’s largest global health and social entrepreneurship event. It convenes 300 speakers and more than 2200 leaders, students and other participants from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship – representing all 50 U.S. states and 55 countries.
On April 13-14, the 10th annual Global Health and Innovation Conference will take place in New Haven, Connecticut. NextBillion Health Care will be there as a media partner, and we’ll feature extensive coverage of the event in the following weeks. Here are a few of the speakers and sessions on the agenda for this year:
Tina Rosenberg, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist at The New York Times
Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
Sonia Sachs, Director of Health of the Millennium Villages Project
Al Sommer, Dean Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Social innovation sessions by CEOs and leaders of:
Partners in Health
One Acre Fund
Equal Exchange Coop
and many others
The Global Health & Innovation Conference also includes more than 100 cutting-edge ideas that are in early development, which are presented in innovative social enterprise pitch sessions.
“The goal (of the conference) was to develop an educational forum, and to exchange ideas across many different disciplines,” explains Staple-Clark. “Because there are so many conferences that really focus on one specific area: TB conferences, for example, or HIV conferences, or eye care conferences. But there wasn’t really a forum where people from so many different disciplines could convene and exchange ideas. And that’s really the best way to advance strategies across all these disciplines that can be used within programs and organizations.
“So we have a range of different speakers from social enterprises and fair trade organizations, and we also have purely health care-oriented speakers, and purely international development speakers, and a lot of different types of people, so that participants think outside the box of their own field. It’s a forum for the most thorough, comprehensive, and groundbreaking work in global health, social entrepreneurship and international development.”
Click here for the conference schedule, program details and online registration.