Mohan Sudabattula, philosophy student and Humanities House resident, presented at TEDx Salt Lake City on Sept. 8 at Kingsbury Hall. He was the first ever U student to be on the TEDx stage and his talk focused on social innovation in healthcare through simple solutions and community empowerment.
Sudabattula is co-founder of Project Embrace, an international medical nonprofit organization that aims to reduce global health disparities and promote sustainable healthcare. Project Embrace does this through the reuse and repurposing of previously owned medical equipment from the U.S. to meet the need of patients worldwide.
“The United States is the only developed nation in the world that does not have universal health coverage,” said Sudabattula during his talk. “Regardless of your political stance on that, there’s a lot of adverse consequences to that. Consequences like the production of easily preventable medical excess. In a lot of other systems that have comprehensive health policy, you get prescribed the use of this stuff, you use it, but then the expectation is that you give it back, so it can be redistributed to another patient who has a similar need.”
In his talk, Sudabattula says the innovation for his organization didn’t come from identifying that medical equipment isn’t trash after limited use, but rather taking best practices from various public systems around the world and adapting them to a non-profit.
“Innovation doesn’t have to come in the form of cutting-edge research or the advancement of biotechnology, it can be through simple evaluations of something that is already successful in one sector and applying it to another to create something new.”
Since the launch last year, Project Embrace has successfully collected hundreds of medical devices from the community and distributed them to people around the world.
“When we feel empowered to make a difference, we do.”
TEDx conferences are independently-organized events that carry the spirit of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conferences, which aim to share “ideas worth spreading.”