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Programs in Education

MED 232 Global Health: Scaling Health Technology Innovations in Low Resource Settings

Photo credit: National Cancer Institute,

Course Description


Recent advances in health technologies – incorporating innovations like robotics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and smart sensors – have raised expectations of a dramatic impact on health outcomes across the world. However, bringing innovative technologies to low-resource settings has proven challenging, limiting their impact. Ironically, the current COVID-19 pandemic became Exhibit 1 in the challenges the global health community faces in scaling innovative interventions. This course explores critical questions regarding the implementation and impact of technological innovations in low-resource settings.

This course, MED 232, will feature thought leaders from the health technology community, who will explore examples of technologies that have been successful in low resource communities, as well as those that have failed. Students will think critically to consider conditions under which technologies reach scale and positively impact the global health field.

Three-unit students will also have a unique opportunity to work on real-world projects offered by organizations and companies. These projects will focus on the potential opportunity for the use of a health technology innovation in a low-resource setting and consider approaches to ensure its impact at scale. Students will work together in groups on these projects. In some cases, students have been offered an internship opportunity or have been an author on a publication based on the work and relationship they developed with their mentor during the course.


This course will be taught by Dr. Anurag Mairal, Adjunct Professor of Medicine and the Director, Global Outreach Programs at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, Dr. Krista Donaldson, Director of Innovation to Impact at Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign, and Dr. Michele Barry, Senior Associate Dean for Global Health.


Sample Projects

Examples of projects that students have worked on in the past include:

  • WHO Innovation Hub: A Framework for Scaling Mobile, Digitally-Enabled Clinics for Primary Health Care
  • Increasing Access to Abbott’s Pediatric Transcatheter Congenital Heart Disease Devices in India for Ventricular Septal Defect
  • Intuitive Foundation: Scaling SELF Model for Building Surgical Capacity in Global Health
  • Enabling Health Equity Through Public-Private Partnerships & Technology (with Microsoft)


Course speakers

Speakers will include a range of voices and may include, among others: Dr. Catherine Mohr, President of the Intuitive Foundation, the corporate Foundation of Intuitive Surgical; Dr. David Rhew, Global Chief Medical Officer & VP of Healthcare, Microsoft; Dr. Richard Mackman, Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry at Gilead Sciences; Martin Dale, Director, Digital Health and Monitoring PSI Global; and Andrea Wainer, Executive Vice President, Rapid and Molecular Diagnostics, Abbott.

Student testimonials

Here are some things past students had to say about the course:

“Learned so much from interviewing global health leaders. Loved working and meeting with my teammates. Really proud of the product we came up with by the end of 10 weeks, hope to continue working on the project and publish it soon.”

I worked on a project with Microsoft in enabling health equity with public-private partnerships. It was really great and I was even able to publish a research paper with my team.”

“Participating in the group project was one of the best group project experiences I’ve had at Stanford. This class is full of bright, committed students with wildly different backgrounds it was incredibly valuable as an undergrad to get to learn from the PhD students and medical students in the class.”

Eligibility and Requirements

This course is open to undergraduate students, graduate students, and medical students. All students will be expected to participate in discussions weekly. Students can take the course for two or three units. Students enrolling in the course for a third unit will work on the group project described above and will be required to submit a final paper.

This class counts as required coursework towards the following programs:

  • Global Health Scholarly Concentration for medical students
  • Human Biology Global Health Subplan Elective for undergraduate students
  • Cardinal Service transcript notation – This course has been designated as a Cardinal Course by the Haas Center for Public Service. Cardinal Courses apply classroom knowledge to pressing social and environmental problems through reciprocal community partnerships. The units received through this course can be used towards the 12-unit requirement for the Cardinal Service transcript notation.

How to Apply

Students must submit an application and be selected to receive an enrollment code. Stanford affiliates have the option of auditing the course, but an application is still required.

The teaching team will review responses and will start sending out enrollment codes after enrollment opens for Winter Quarter. Note that applications will not be reviewed, and no enrollment codes will be sent during Winter Closure – December 21st, 2023 – January 3rd, 2024.

Questions can be directed to the Course Manager, Yosefa Gilon,

Apply here