Message From Our New President
by Graham Dodge | Jan 11, 2022 |
I am pleased to join the PathCheck Foundation as President to help lead the organization into a bold new future as the preeminent open source initiative for enabling and supporting global health and pandemic response. In 2011, I started a novel disease surveillance company called Sickweather at a time when the world was still reeling from the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic, and as a parent and caregiver I simply wanted to know ‘what’s going around?’ - was a virus still to blame, food poisoning, or something else? This is because pandemics cause confusion that can reverberate for years, but they also present opportunities to leverage emerging technologies and advancements in science to bring order to the chaos. With Sickweather, we leveraged the advent of social media with machine learning techniques to understand where people were getting sick, so we could in turn offer those data back to the public and empower them to make informed decisions.
PathCheck Foundation, and its founders and volunteers led by Ramesh Raskar at MIT, were the ones who stepped up to address the confusion and chaos that emerged from COVID-19 by answering questions like: how do you achieve automated contact tracing at scale across diverging platforms; how do you leverage ubiquitous mobile technology for proof of vaccination; and how do you achieve all of that while preserving privacy? These were complex questions at the onset of the worst global pandemic in recent history, and PathCheck isn’t answering these questions alone -- we have invited partners in academia and public health from across the globe to create the Vaccination Dashboard and to establish the Institute for Technology and Global Health and The Data Informatics Center for Epidemiology (DICE) (pathcheck.org). While other questions remain that PathCheck and its partners are poised to solve, one thing is certain; the future of public health needs to be open source with access stratified across data silos, and with privacy preservation for citizens at the forefront.
While the impact of COVID-19 will hopefully wane soon, the next Disease-X pandemic is inevitable. With the tools created by PathCheck Foundation and the efforts of our more than 3,000 professional volunteers around the globe, we’ll be there to reduce confusion, minimize the chaos and bring order and standardization to public health engagement.
- Graham Dodge