Thursday, August 28, 2008

Location-Based Mobile App Part 2

Here's another idea. Just as there are iPhone apps that will tell you the nearest cinema or restaurants (with ratings to boot), and in addition to other smartphone apps such as Handmark's Express (albeit not location-based, but you can punch in your zip code or city), I propose and am investigating one listing health resources. Get the 411 on categories such as:

  • counseling -- places where you can consult for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy, pregnancy prevention, travel vaccinations, chronic diseases such as HIV, HBV, diabetes, etc.
  • clinical -- places where you can get treated or vaccinated for STIs, chronic diseases, etc., as well as preventive care check-ups, especially low-cost services
  • services -- places providing services other than counseling or clinical, such as transportation for those with disabilities, medical translation, wigs, prostheses, etc.
  • action -- places where you can lend your skills to promote health (a.k.a. volunteering) -- local community-based health organizations, your local government representatives (lobbying), etc.
  • food -- healthy food (a good and ample selection of foods that are nutritious and moderate in calories) and safe food (places that understand dietary restrictions)

I provide the content and funding + You (whoever you are) provide the programming and tech support = We enhance and save lives.

Bridging the Digital Divide in BRIC

Off the AP wires yesterday, it was announced that "Dell unveils new PCs targeting emerging markets." While the computers are designed for small-business users, it is one more way the [inter]net is being cast wider, and thereby, health messages can reach more people via this medium. The particular emerging markets Dell is focusing on are Brazil, Russia, India, and China, a.k.a. BRIC. After this computers will still yet become more and more affordable for countries beyond BRIC.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Case for my Location Based App

According to my Google Reader and, an article was published today relaying: "Taking a step that professors may view as a bit counterproductive, some universities are doling out Apple iPhones and Internet-capable iPods to students."

The implications:
  • Bridging the digital divide (and reaching the medically underserved) ... many more people own phones, but not necessarily computers. Eventually data plans will become more affordable, and even before then, I'll wager that location-based technology would become standard even sooner.
  • Student health outreach in a college community, and best of all ...
  • An audience for my location-based health app proposed a couple days ago -- scroll down to August 15.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Case 4 Txting

Out of the mouths of babes --

l: heyy ya kno wat i just did??
o: Ahh wat????
l: kk so i just signed up so that obama will txt me wen he chooses his vice pres and ill b 1 of the 1st 2 kno!
l: kk txt VP to 62262 (which spells obama) heyy isnt he the coolest?! most boring ppl wud announce that on tv...but obama txts ppl!! o btw this is free
o: hes SO winning
l: yaa deff heyy did u do it??
o: No not yet..hold ur horses
l: tee hee
o: K i just did it hehe
l: yayyyy we're sooo cool
o: i know i feel special!
l: yuppppp ahhh i wonder who its gonna b
o: I want clinton!
l: omg that wud b AMAZING like a dream come true
o: Haha! it actually wud, like first black man and first woman!
l: uggg that wud b awsome
o: I love how we r talkin bout politics...hehe
l: hehe

Managing Priorities with Excel

So many diseases too prevent, so little time. Here's how to manage priorities using Microsoft Excel.

Friday, August 15, 2008

location based app for health

What about using the iPhone's location-based technology for health? This is an extension of a program ISIS does, in that text participants get SMSes relative to the time of day. For example, it's 10pm on a Friday night -- you get a text that says, "appoint a designated driver," or "grab a condom from the fishbowl at 'x' Bar or pub."

With location-based technology, the first thing that comes to mind is if you're nearby a park or, say, walking along San Francisco's Embarcadero, this application would tell you to do five push-ups by the giant bow-and-arrow ... or something cooler, but you get my drift.

research on technology and reaching youth with health messages

Got an assignment today to "research on technolgy [sic] and reaching youth with health messages." Might as well document it for myself and everyone else.

everything you need to know

Stanford professor Dr. BJ Fogg organized a conference ( -- the name says it all) earlier this year addressing mobile-technology for health. He states, "Mobile phones will become the #1 platform for persuasion." Looks like the conference was done in partnership with, amongst others, the American Heart Association and ISIS.

This is excellent, it's not youth specific, but if you combine the info presented here with the pew internet research (where the above charts came from), i think it adds up to something that makes sense. and much, much more useful, telling data.

other stuff i found

case study
youth and electronic communication (section 4)

not youth oriented, but this gives you an idea of different ways to interact with and present info to the youth via texting service.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Next VP Via ... Text!

In medieval times, I would've called today a red letter day. In these millenial times, I'll call it a red texted day.

Today I had the opportunity to be part of an nifty meeting to discuss the possibility of using texting for cancer control. And then, I get back to my desk, trying to figure out how to text a 5 digit number, only to find out instead that Obama will announce his VP running mate via text.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

SexInfo via SMS / Texting

Let's start by saying I didn't mean to come off as trite in the recent post addressing texting campaigns abroad -- indeed I wish I had thought of it and would like to put it to action through personal projects. With that out of the way, next week I get to meet [again] the founder and director of Internet Sexuality Information Services (ISIS), Deb Levine, whose efforts were written up as a case study in a United Nations publication (new goal!), "Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in Mobile Use by NGOs" with a forward (addressing the publication, not the case study specifically) by Ted Turner. Wow.

Definitely check out the publication for more concrete examples to leverage mobile technology. There are other case studies on global health issues such as "Delivering Patient HIV/AIDS care (South Africa)," "Connecting Health Clinics with Remote Health Workers (Uganda)," and "Lowering the Barriers for Access to Public Health Data (Kenya, Zambia)."

But despite all these efforts in Africa, I remain sullen and affected from my recent viewing of The Constant Gardener. It will take a while to unwrench the knife twisted in my gut from that movie. One corporatism tag for Big Pharma for this post. Ugh.

Rule of Acquisition #34 Anticorollary Anticorollary: Fascism is Good for Public Health

The Nazis were researchers and advocates of the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco.

Una Mesa and Open Source

Eureka! An example of a public health movement engaged in the open source movement, Una Mesa. Explore -- however, to save you a click, here are the essentials:

Open source software plays a key role in the research and development of better social services
  • UnaMesa works with communities to develop tools that serve their needs
  • Requires the ability to share and build upon each other's work (Open Source)

How UnaMesa supports Open Source developers

  • Developer community sites -,
  • Purchase code / support on behalf of the community (How do OS programmers eat) (e.g. Eric Shulman's support of TiddlyWiki community)
  • Public Trust - Holds copyright on behalf of the community (Allows integration with any projects that provide social benefit regardless of which open-source license they use.
  • Support for localization

How UnaMesa supports social organizations that use Open Source

  • Provides software tools and services for free to social enterprises (e.g.
  • Demonstrates how technology is used in real life situations (e.g. TiddlyWiki in education, SharedRecords in clincs)
  • Provides training and support for users (UnaMesa Academy)

How UnaMesa supports businesses that work with Open Source

  • Provides a neutral, trusted intermediary to protect the interests of both the community and the corporate participants (e.g. TiddlyWiki and BT Osmosoft)
  • Negotiate on behalf of the community to establish appropriate licenses and contracts for corporate contributions of code
  • Accepts contributions from corporations and ensures that they go directly to supporting the developer community (e.g. support of Martin)

Moving beyond texting for public health

SMS as a modality for public health communication is so 1.5+ years ago. It's trendy and effective(!) in Africa and certainly applicable to other rural areas of the world (mental note: remember this for vaccination projects in greater China as well as Vietnamese communities beyond Hanoi and Saigon). In case you're interested in hopping on the bandwagon, here are good resources I picked up from attending a NetSquared presentation featuring Ben Rigby:

Anyhow, and beyond that, according to a Wikipedia entry on mobile advertising:

"Other forms include MMS advertising, advertising within mobile games and mobile videos, during mobile TV receipt, full-screen interstices, which appear while a requested item of mobile content or mobile web page is loading up, and audio adverts (eg, in the form of a jingle before a voicemail recording)."

Throwing down the gauntlet to myself and others to flesh out these other forms of mobile public health PSAs.