Course Meeting Times

Lectures / Workshops: 3 sessions, various hours / session (session one: 3 hours, session two: 8 hours, session three: 5 ½ hours)

Course Overview

Every day, nurses, doctors, and their colleagues wrestle with the challenge of delivering healthcare to those who most need it. There's wide consensus that management and business tools and innovations could help in the quest to do more with less. Our past experience with 70 GlobalHealth Lab projects in clinics, hospitals, and programs that serve the poor in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia reveals the benefits of practical assistance in marketing, operations, change management, design, technology use, finance, strategy, and systems thinking.

These collaborations have also led to two discoveries: That innovative frontline workers and managers in many different settings are finding new ways to custom-design healthcare services to meet their communities' unique needs—and, at the same time, that many healthcare workers have little scope to discover others' new innovations in technology and care delivery that could prove helpful to their organization.

In this three-day workshop, students will get a broad introduction to global health issues. We'll quickly move to our focus: Learning about one particular non-governmental organization in India that works to improve health across the lifespan by empowering existing community resources to provide appropriate physical, psychological and social therapies, focusing on child development, adolescent and youth health, mental health, and chronic disease.

Dividing students into several clusters to focus on specific issues we have selected with the NGO, we'll then conduct a rapid examination of the organization's needs and a high-level mapping of core strengths and capabilities to set the stage for a one-day assessment of potentially promising new ideas that could be relevant to the organization's needs. The goal is for each cluster to pinpoint the most interesting emerging ideas that are connected to innovations being developed on the MIT campus, in the Boston area, or within the broader MIT ecosystem. For the one-day search, we will have lined up contacts from across MIT, the Boston area, and MIT friends and alumni. Each cluster will prepare a presentation, and on the last day of our workshop, a panel of guests will meet with students, students will present, and guests will then share reflections with the entire group. Students have the final segment of the workshop to update their presentations, which they will then share with our NGO collaborator.

You will need to be a self-starter for to make the most of this SIP (Sloan Innovation Period) course as at least half the time is for you to explore the MIT ecosystem on your own to uncover potential innovations that could benefit Sangath, an inspiring organization on the front lines of health care delivery in low-resource settings that is dedicated to health across the life span.

This workshop equips you to explore novel ideas and technologies with an inspiring and ground-breaking Indian NGO dedicated to health across the life span. You'll focus on areas where Goa-based Sangath is already innovating on both program and technology fronts—and where new ideas, collaborations, and inspirations could help them accomplish even more: Developmental disabilities; alcohol dependence disorders; geriatric health, including dementia; and maternal mental health. In addressing these areas, you'll explore the leading edge of innovation in global health delivery: Supporting chronic care.

Over the three days, you will learn about global health needs as context for studying Sangath's approach, which seeks to improve much-needed health services by leveraging community health workers, lay workers, and peers in new ways, along with mobile apps and other non-traditional methods. You'll discover that the organization's co-founder Vikram Patel and his colleagues are passionate advocates and evidence-based implementers. We'll have multiple opportunities to interact with Sangath experts, and student teams will scout our rich ecosystem—with an amazing roster of leading innovators standing by ready to talk to you, from academic experts to startup founders and CEOs at Dimagi, mPower,, Centre for Affordable Healthcare Technology at Oxford University, MGH Center for Global Health's CamTECH Consortium, Partners in Health, MIT Media Lab, the Global Health Delivery Project at Harvard, eHealth Systems and more. You'll bring your new ideas and innovations to the workshop itself for feedback, then to Sangath for their consideration. Your new discoveries may even help this pioneering organization to launch its next innovation!

A Sampling of Additional Information about the Selected Organization


Please note the hours for this intensive workshop. The early starts are needed to enable us to talk to experts in India via skype.

Day 1 (Monday): 1 pm to 4 pm, with reading and preparation to do after the session.

Day 2 (Tuesday): 8 am to 4 pm; flexible lunch timing

Day 3 (Wednesday): 8 am to 1:30 pm; includes in-class working lunch

Please bring your laptops to all sessions, and set aside sufficient time to do both reading and preparation on the first night, Monday.

Most of the second day, Tuesday, will be flexible, to allow you to call, and in some cases visit, the experts we have lined up. You should be ready on Tuesday to travel to Central Square or Harvard Medical School with two other classmates.

There is some additional flexible time mid-morning on Wednesday to allow you to continue to develop your ideas for an interactive final session. Note that in return for the early start on both Tuesday and Wednesday, we end early on Wednesday-and on that day will give you lunch too!