Meet the Healthcare Innovators Making It Easier to Thrive

A cancer-detecting phone plug-in, a self-injectable contraceptive, and more.

Each year, GOOD celebrates 100 people from around the globe who are improving our world in creative and innovative ways—advocates, inventors, educators, creatives, business leaders and more who are speaking up, building things, campaigning for change, and ultimately refusing to accept the status quo.

In this section, meet 12 individuals modernizing medicine and revolutionizing healthcare.

Hossam Haick’s App Can Smell What Ails You

\nHaifa \n

Hossam Haick can’t diagnose cancer just by looking at you, but he’s close. The 40-year-old chemical engineer and nanotechnologist at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology holds dozens of patents for noninvasive diagnostic technology: nanomaterial-based chemical sensors, self-healing “electronic skin,” breath analysis, and more. Last spring, he launched the SniffPhone, a breathalyzer plug-in for smartphones that can detect over 23 diseases, including lung cancer. As easy as talking to Siri.

Dr. David Walton Helps Poor Hospitals Go Digital


Before joining global technology consultancy ThoughtWorks as director of global health, Dr. David Walton built and directed medical facilities in Haiti, including the country’s first women’s hospital. Now he helps resource-poor regions digitize medical infrastructure. During the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Walton’s team designed the electronic records system that enabled patient data to move from contaminated red zones to pharmacists in safe green zones. This year, ThoughtWorks will deploy its open-source hospital management software to help modernize facilities in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Marjaneh Halati Gives Hope to Abuse Victims


While attending the University of Cambridge, social psychologist Marjaneh Halati wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the often abusive institution of marriage in Iran and has devoted her life since to helping vulnerable women recover from its damages. Halati’s Omid-e-Mehr Foundation in Tehran offers three-year rehabilitation programs providing therapy, education, vocational training, and housing to victims of trauma and abuse. Currently, she’s building a career and entrepreneurship center for the program’s graduates to combat Iranian hiring norms that discriminate against female runaways.

Sangu Delle Shells Out for a Stronger Africa


Ghanaian venture capitalist Sangu Delle’s stacked portfolio of African-owned, social-impact startups is particularly health venture heavy. Delle’s company, Golden Palm Investments, has funded revolutionary endeavors, like mPharma’s cloud-based drug prescription software, Rabito Clinic’s rural healthcare and dermatology services, and Stawi’s fortified porridge flours. Next on Delle’s agenda is launching an angel fund focused on female entrepreneurs in Africa.

Dr. Laila Bugaighis Modernizes Medicine in Rural Libya

Washington, D.C.

Prior to leaving her hometown of Benghazi, Dr. Laila Bugaighis logged 23 years in public health. She taught at Libya’s medical university, crafted policy reform, and served as CEO of Benghazi Medical Center, where she partnered with Massachusetts General Hospital to develop high-standard ambulance and emergency childbirth services in rural areas—a project that had been derailed by civil war. An outspoken women’s rights advocate, Bugaighis recently moved to Washington, D.C., as threats and violence toward female political activists escalated in Libya.

Dr. BJ Miller Redesigns Death with Empathy

San Francisco

Dr. BJ Miller, executive director at the Zen Hospice Project, is a man with an illuminated view of his own mortality. As a student at Princeton, a near-fatal electrical shock cost Miller both legs below the knee and half of one arm. The experience continues to inform his work as a pioneer in palliative care, merging traditional medical services with an attitude that embraces dying as “an essential part of life.” This year, he’s fighting to make insurance companies cover peaceful end-of-life care.

Gidi Stein Prevents Medical Mess-ups


Israeli computational biologist Gidi Stein co-founded MedAware after hearing about a 9-year-old patient dying from a prescription error. Using algorithms that analyze data from billions of prescriptions, MedAware products can identify potentially erroneous medications in real time, map institutional risks, and even answer pharmacists’ and clinicians’ treatment questions. The company launches in the U.S. later this year.

Lisha McCormick Strives for a Healthier Liberia

New York City

Last Mile Health, an organization that trains and equips community health workers in rural areas, was founded in a closet in Liberia in 2007. Over the past two years, its staff and trainees led the coun- try’s Ebola response—Liberia was declared free of the virus in January. Now Lisha McCormick, the organization’s chief development officer, is shaping policy with the Liberian government to professionalize those workers and deploy 4,000 personnel across all remote villages in the country, bringing primary care to an estimated 1.2 million people.

Zhen Gu is the Needle-Averse Patient’s Hero

\nChapel Hill

To minimize the suffering of diabetics and cancer patients, University of North Carolina biomedical engineer Zhen Gu wants to kill the syringe. He’s currently developing two precision drug-delivery systems: a topical “smart insulin patch” that releases insulin automatically into the bloodstream and nanocapsules that deliver anticancer drugs to the most active destinations.

Dr. Joe Cohen Aims to Rein In Malaria

\nBrussels \n

When pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline appointed Cohen to lead its malaria vaccine program in ’87, he admits he knew little about the infectious disease. Last July, the RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate that Cohen, now quasi-retired, helped invent became the first ever to receive international regulatory approval. It begins pilot deployment in sub-Saharan Africa this year.

Dr. John Brownstein Takes Disease Surveillance Mainstream


Dr. John Brownstein’s field of work barely existed when he started using online news aggregators and social media to track emerging public health threats in real time. A decade later, HealthMap remains the gold standard for digitally monitoring disease outbreaks. In the years between, Brownstein built a platform that tracks live street prices for diverted prescription drugs, delivered flu shots through Uber, and consulted for Contagion. Last July, Boston Children’s Hospital took computational epidemiology mainstream, appointing Brownstein chief of innovation.

\nSara Tifft’s Contraceptive Access Crusade \n


It began with condoms. In the late ’80s, Sara Tifft entered the global health sphere directing a contraceptive social-marketing program in Bolivia. These days, she is a leader in global health nonprofit PATH’s reproductive health program, geared toward the 225 million women worldwide who lack access to modern contraception. Tifft helms PATH’s pilot program for the Sayana Press device—as of September, the first self-injectable contraceptive approved in the United Kingdom—in Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet