Start Center - Strategic Analysis, Research & Training Center
START Center

Grand Challenges: START Center Work Presented

Grand Challenges:  START Center Work Presented

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative is intended to spark innovation and the exchange of ideas around some of the world’s most pressing global health issues. At its core, the Grand Challenges Initiative’s aim is to advance scientific and technological breakthroughs that carry a significant impact.

Every year the Grand Challenges conference attracts top talent from around the world to build momentum for global health innovation and encourage collaboration among international funders and partners. This year, several START faculty and research assistants were invited to attend and to present START Center projects. Please see the excerpts below for more details:

Diagnostic Gap Analysis in Support of the London Declaration
In January 2012, the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases called for a coordinated push towards improved schistosomiasis control globally, with focal elimination of schistosomiasis by 2020. However, current WHO and national governmental strategies are not aligned with the global goal of targeted elimination and are unlikely to achieve these benchmarks. In this project, conducted by the START team with the Neglected Infectious Disease team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we sought to outline current WHO recommended schistosomiasis strategies and compare them to a proposed prevalence-specific elimination strategy. The proposed multi-sectorial and collaborative strategy was designed with the intention of increasing cure rates, reducing community-level reinfection rates, and sustainably interrupting transmission of disease.
Student Presenter: Arianna Rubin Means

Growth and Nutrition Interventions
To support the Healthy Birth Growth and Development Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, START used meta-analysis methods to assess ten interventions thought to improve childhood growth and cognitive outcomes. The team presented the results and conclusions of several analyses, including evaluations of interventions such as deworming, vitamin A and zinc supplementation at the modeling track of the 2014 Grand Challenges annual meeting. Additionally, a poster summarizing their analysis of the effects of deworming was also displayed.
Student Presenters: Emily Deichsel and Kirk Tickell

Literature review: Interventions to improve Adolescent health in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on Ethiopia and Nigeria
Improving adolescent girls’ health, especially during the pre-conception period, may improve maternal and child outcomes in the critical 1,000 day window (conception to age 2). To identify effective interventions targeting family planning, maternal, neonatal, and child health, and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on Nigerian and Ethiopia, the START team conducted a systematic literature review and assessed the quality of outcome evaluations of the identified interventions in support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s adolescent working group. The results of the project were presented as a poster at the 2014 Grand Challenges Meeting.
Student Presenters: Erica Lokken and Beryne Odeny