mHealth Summit Brings Together Health, Technology and Policy

2009 Inaugural mHealth Summit Brings Together Health, Technology and Policy Communities to Advance Technological Innovation in Global Healthcare


WASHINGTON, DC, October 29, 2009 — The 2009 mHealth (Mobile Health) Summit, organized by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), today opens an unprecedented two-day summit bringing together more than 800 public and private sector science, medical, policy and mobile technology experts to develop a new roadmap related to the integration of science and wireless solutions to improve public health delivery, particularly to underserved populations, in the U.S. and around the world.

“This mHealth Summit challenges the science and technology communities to collaborate and craft a vision for innovation, solving problems and implementing solutions by using the mobile platform,” notes Dr. Charles A. Sanders, Chairman of the Board, Foundation for NIH. “mHealth has the potential to transform public healthcare research and delivery, relieve over-stretched health systems, and revolutionize healthcare in the U.S. and the developing world.”

Goals of the inaugural mHealth Summit include: assessing current mHealth policies, building a bridge between biomedical research and mobile technology experts in identifying mHealth solutions, fostering integration of mobile and medical technologies to improve healthcare delivery to underserved populations, and crafting a vision for moving mHealth technologies forward.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by senior officials including: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS); Dr. Francis S. Collins, newly appointed Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Dr. Ileana Arias, Acting Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State; Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, PEPFAR; Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of Rwanda of Rwanda to the United Nations, and Dr. Roberto Tapia-Conyer, Director General of the Carso Health Institute of Mexico.

The Conference Program
Opening day discussions include a panel moderated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel of the NIH Bioethics Department on the ethics, privacy, and security challenges of using mobile technologies in health and health research. Dr. Barbara Mittleman, NIH Public Private Partnerships Office, will moderate a panel on building capacity and collaboration to harness mobile technologies. A closing panel discussion on October 30 will explore the evolution of mHealth technologies.

Case studies throughout the two-day summit will explore innovation in mobile healthcare delivery, from Microsoft® smart phones monitoring fetal heart rates to SMS and mobile health delivery in rural Malawi, and e-learning systems delivered via mobile to remote medical training sites. Panel sessions will include representatives from technology companies such as, the GSM Association, Microsoft Research, Nokia, Qualcomm and Vodafone.

“Over 800 researchers and healthcare experts are convening today at the mHealth Summit in Washington DC to explore ways for the over 6.5 billion people on our planet to have better healthcare. Mobile technologies have the kind of reach that can help,” said Kristin M. Tolle, Summit Program Co-Chair and Director of Devices, Sensors and Mobility for Healthcare, Microsoft Research. “This meeting is a great opportunity to enable leaders in policy and medical sectors to make connections across disciplines and lay the ground work for making greater strides together towards a shared vision of better global healthcare.”

International Scope
Attendees of the 2009 International mHealth came from more than 25 countries. Representatives of the Fogarty International Center at NIH, InSTEDD, Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation will discuss their international mHealth field experience at the conference.

“With close to 5 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, over half of which are in emerging economies, we have a tremendous opportunity to extend quality health care to the furthest reaches of wireless,” said David Aylward, Executive Director of the mHealth Alliance, an umbrella organization launched by the three foundations earlier this year. “A diverse group of partners is needed to make smart and sustainable mHealth efforts truly effective and scalable, and this Summit is taking us an important step in that direction.”

Thirty case studies, selected from over 150 submissions from individuals in 20 countries, will be addressed during panels exploring: Point of Care Diagnostics and Remote Patient Monitoring; Remote Data Collection and Surveillance; Public Health Education; Healthy Behavior Change and Wellbeing Promotion. Additional panel sessions will explore: Ethics, Privacy and Security Challenges of Using Mobile Technologies in Health and Health Research; Building Capacity and Collaborations to Effectively Harness Mobile Technologies for Health; and Vision for the Future.

Partners and Sponsors
Partners in the mHealth Summit are at the forefront of the fight for greater global health solutions. They include the mHealth Alliance, Microsoft Research, National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership and the World Bank.

Microsoft Research is the partnering sponsor of the Summit. Other sponsors include the Abbott Fund, Battelle, Becton Dickinson, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Qualcomm. This was the first time this diverse group assembled for this type of cross-discipline collaboration.

A related event, “From Policy to Implementation,” was held the full day preceding the Summit and explored policy issues relating to mHealth. This smaller, private event was organized with support from the World Bank, mHealth Alliance, and the Foundation for NIH.

The future
“From all aspects, the 2009 mHealth Summit is a success, and the overwhelming response to it exceeded our expectations,” noted Richard Scarfo, Director of the mHealth Summit and Director of Strategic Alliances at the Foundation for NIH.

“This is the first significant event in the United States to bring together key leaders in the areas of biomedical research, mobile technology, and policy. Together we share a goal of opening new opportunities for cross-discipline collaboration and partnerships that deliver on the immense promise that mHealth holds: improving healthcare delivery, particularly to underserved communities, in the U.S and the developing world. We look forward to building the momentum behind mHealth and anticipate that we will have exciting announcements as we continue the planning for the expanded 2010 mHealth Summit,” Scarfo concluded.

Dates for the 2010 mHealth Summit were announced today. This expanded event will take place on November 9th and 10th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.


To view the complete mHealth Summit program and schedule, visit:

Portions of the Summit will be webcast live. Visit the Foundation for NIH website at to access.

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Twitter Hashtag: #mHS09

About The Foundation for NIH
Established by the United States Congress to support the mission of the NIH — improving health through scientific discovery in the search for cures — the Foundation for NIH is a leader in identifying and addressing complex scientific and health issues. It expedites or facilitates the potential for new discoveries by convening innovative public/private collaborative partnerships that leverage the diverse strengths of stakeholders including those from the scientific and research community, industry, academia, advocacy groups, foundations and philanthropy. The foundation is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, that raises private-sector funds for a broad portfolio of unique programs that complement and enhance NIH priorities and activities.

For additional information about the Foundation for NIH, please visit

About Microsoft Research
Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. Researchers focus on more than 55 areas of computing and collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to advance the state of the art in such areas as graphics, speech recognition, user-interface research, natural language processing, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, and the mathematical sciences. Microsoft Research currently employs more than 850 people in six labs located in Redmond, Wash.; Cambridge, Mass.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Cambridge, England; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India. Microsoft Research collaborates openly with colleges and universities worldwide to enhance the teaching and learning experience, inspire technological innovation, and broadly advance the field of computer science. More information can be found at More information about Microsoft Research mobile health can be found at:

About the mHealth Alliance
The mHealth Alliance is dedicated to enabling the delivery of quality healthcare to the farthest reaches of wireless networks in the developing world. Created by the United Nations Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Vodafone Foundation, the Alliance’s mission is to be a catalyst and accelerant, supporting leaders, celebrating successes, creating hard research, filling gaps, making connections, and forging public-private partnerships. More information is available at or [email protected].

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