As we all strive to adapt to our very changed world in the age of COVID-19, the Elsevier Foundation’s mission to advance inclusive health and research in service of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains as relevant as ever. Over the past few years, we have worked hard to embed technology across many key partnerships and have seen this focus bear fruit as the world has gone into preventative pandemic measures.
Girls Inc NYC, a new partner in 2019, serves a vulnerable urban population that has been particularly hard hit by the breakdown in social and financial safety nets. Within a week of New York City schools closing, they were able to deliver all of their programs, including PreG3: The Elsevier Data Analytics Preparatory Program, virtually and are working as quickly as possible to equip their girls with the necessary tablets, internet access and technical skills.
Our efforts to embed technology across many of our partnerships have been increasingly timely. In March, our longstanding partner Amref, which provides health education in Africa, officially launched Jibu (Swahili for “answer”), a continuing education app we have supported to offer efficient and cost-effective training for nurses in East Africa. Now, 3,000 health workers across all 47 Kenyan counties are using the COVID-19 course.
We also supported the rollout of a Research4Life training MOOC in 2019, which serves as an integrated complement to our face-to-face training. The MOOC ensures that distance learning on how to use critical Research4Life resources can proceed despite the physical limitations users and trainers are dealing with today.
This year, we also doubled down on our inclusive health focus in the US, adding two new partnerships that tap technology to tackle issues faced by underserved communities:
- The Latino Diabetes Citizen Scientists Program will assist in the training of community health workers to gather critical data and use wearable tech to reduce health literacy barriers for adults suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, a disease disproportionately prevalent in the US Latino Community.
- With our support, the National League of Nursing (NLN) will be able to develop the “Excellence in Technology Innovation for Nursing Faculty in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs),” which will provide e-learning modules that enable educators to better guide students through the transition to professional practice. Ultimately, the NLN aims to boost the numbers of successful nurse graduates from less represented backgrounds serving in US hospitals.
Both of these programs exemplify how the Elsevier Foundation can make a difference with funds and access to health expertise, content and networks.
Meanwhile, we continue to sharpen our focus on inclusive research by increasing access to science, technology and health education for women, youth and researchers from developing countries. Our ISC3 Green & Sustainable Chemistry Challenge and OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in Developing Countries spotlight rising stars and role models. By providing crucial recognition, we seek to not only open doors for the winners but for those following in their footsteps.
In the words of 2020 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation award winner Dr. Chao Mbogo, a computer scientist from Kenya:
This award is a testament that designing technological tools that support learners is important and timely work, especially for students in developing countries who may not have much access to information or opportunities. This award has acted as a strong reminder to me to never stop holding the ladder up for others.
Inclusive research is also an area where Elsevier, the foundation’s core funder and supporter, has made significant strides this year. In March, Elsevier CEO and Foundation Board member Kumsal Bayazit launched a new Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Board, cochaired by Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, and supported by distinguished experts across a wide range of fields. The Elsevier Foundation has an opportunity to learn from the new board and identify partnerships that help work towards lasting solutions to promote inclusive research and measurable change.
As we gear up for the 5th anniversary of the UN SDGs this year, it is critical that we continue to pose the difficult question of whether the Elsevier Foundation is doing enough to support impactful programs in the most thoughtful and effective way and embrace the challenge to find viable ways to support our ambitious programs while ensuring optimum flexibility in a rapidly changing world.
Read our annual report
“Inclusive health and research ecosystems are more critical today than ever before. We have a profound role to play in supporting partnerships which incubate new approaches, highlight inequities and catalyze change.” — Youngsuk “YS” Chi in Elsevier Foundation Annual Report
Recently, the Elsevier Foundation Board convened to review the progress and partnerships captured here in the annual Elsevier Foundation Annual Report. As Foundation Director Ylann Schemm noted: “We always look for that sweet spot with partners, wherever possible matching our funds with shared expertise, content, solutions and networks."
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