"I contacted many Ph.D. students from the engineering side. One team was looking for a project manager for their business idea…."
Innovation in healthcare delivery for low-resource settings
GlobalHealth Lab pairs faculty-mentored teams of MBA and other MIT graduate students with enterprises on the front lines of healthcare delivery in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Each student team works on a project designed to address a pressing organizational or business need, as identified by their host.
GlobalHealth Lab projects
Since 2008, dozens of projects have put hundreds of students to work with innovative frontline organizations in Kenya, Uganda, India, South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zambia, Mozambique, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Botswana. The settings vary, but the projects all take on issues that our partners agree are crucial for improving health care delivery by doing more with fewer resources. Projects take on management challenges: improving operations, internal processes, and logistics; strategy setting and business model development; technology and software adoption decisions; and understanding patient demand and marketing.
How GlobalHealth Lab Works
Every year, the GlobalHealth Lab staff and faculty team starts by building a portfolio of projects designed to tap into MIT Sloan students’ strengths. In early December, GlobalHealth Lab’s MBA, PhD and Masters’ students get to know each other and select projects. The four-person teams initiate Skype, email, or phone contact with their host organizations in January. Once class starts in early February, the students work for six weeks at MIT Sloan, then for two weeks on-site in the second half of March, returning to campus in April. Throughout the course, faculty mentors guide students and help them integrate their coursework with the project, while classroom discussions spotlight and explore common challenges and opportunities linked to the project domains.
GlobalHealth Lab partners
Dozens of clinics, hospitals, community organizations, and startups have worked with GlobalHealth Lab student teams.This map provides locations and brief introductions to past partners. The GlobalHealth Lab website offers a wealth of information about past projects and the application process, including several short videos.
The value of GlobalHealth Lab
The aspiration for all GlobalHealth Lab projects is to deliver practical improvements by sparking new efforts to improve health in underserved communities. And what students learn in this hands-on experience contributes to a wider dialog about the emerging field of global health delivery and helps to generate useful data and knowledge to share with others.
Interested in participating?
Please visit the GlobalHealth Lab website to learn more about the class, the projects, and their impact.
"The relationships that we forged helped us to turn out a better project. We were able to test our hypotheses with the people that we spoke with every single day. And really, I think the friendships that you develop really propel the work that you’re doing."
“One of the reasons I came to Sloan was because I wanted to be at a top MBA institution worldwide. But I also wanted access to working with the latest innovations and the highest technology that was coming out of the MIT labs.”
“At MIT Sloan you have a lot of opportunities to explore entrepreneurship. Especially in a place like Kampala where you have a lot of development, entrepreneurship can be very exciting.”
“I knew about American business, but not enough about what’s really become a global economy. … You can read about it all you want, but there’s no substitute for being there and seeing the context and seeing how completely different these [other countries] are.”
“For 35 years, we’ve been studying how companies get value from information. … We try to help organizations take a more holistic view of what they are trying to do.”
“I love being in a place that is such a nexus of people and ideas — people coming to learn something new and to define themselves. Being a part of that process is a real honor and a real gift.”
“We’re very interdisciplinary. Among the faculty in the group are an economist, a political scientist, a sociologist, and an industrial relations specialist. We’ve always made a big effort to be open to a variety of perspectives, but also to go beyond being open to them, to want to bring them in, because it makes for a richer environment.”
“The conditions in the neighborhoods we were visiting were different than what we realized before getting there. Beyond that, what was surprising was that there weren’t surprises!”
“You could talk about watershed management and conservation of energy all you want. But until you put numbers to it and financial analysis to it, you’re not going to get much done. I came to business school to speak that language, speak with people in terms of numbers, financial numbers so that I can get projects done.”
“[The India Lab] program is one of the reasons I came to Sloan. ... The hands-on learning that MIT offers was a huge differentiator.”
“Because of the diversity of our backgrounds, when we hit the ground in Tanzania it almost was a natural play where different people assume different roles.”
“We are very much an action-learning environment. The way to learn leadership is not only through reading cases, not only through learning theory — in fact we don’t want people to regurgitate the theory. We want people to take theory and to live it, use it.”
“It was really rewarding that they wanted to know what we thought. We left there being fairly certain that they will do some of the things that we suggested.”
“The assistant to the CEO was like our host mom while we were there. She arranged our housing for us, she took us out to her friend’s game farm, and we got driven around in 4x4s. She was just wonderful to meet, and we developed a personal as well as professional relationship with her.”
“This is a school that commits itself to real knowledge. I’m proud of our faculty and the way that they have built ideas that are valuable now and stand the test of time.”