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A New Vision for mHealth

By Christen Brownlee

In late 2010, Alain Labrique, Betty Jordan and other colleagues at Johns Hopkins came to the same realization: One way to move the mHealth field forward as a useful public health strategy would be to compare notes with as many people as possible. By learning from each other’s successes and failures, researchers could grow the evidence base for solid mHealth strategies. With that goal, the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative (GmI) was born in mid-2011.

The team quickly found dozens of researchers across the schools of Public Health, Nursing, Medicine, and Engineering who were using cell phones in their work and invited them to join up.

Since then, he and other organizers have launched a speaker series and brought together Hopkins students and faculty members for transformative, interdisciplinary collaborations. They plan to develop a curriculum around mHealth, starting new courses and infusing existing ones with lectures on mobile technologies.

GmI also plans on offering guidance to outside organizations, Jordan says, serving as a thought leader in the same way that other Hopkins institutions have traditionally done. “Hopkins already has a footprint in the global community for lots of things—basic research, clinical research, health care,” she says. “We believe that we could be the go-to place for mHealth in the world.”