Non-Invasive HPV Screening Device Wins 2024 Global Health Competition

Healthcare

From left to right: Dr. Joe Kolars, the founding director of the Center for Global Health Equity, professor of Medicine and Health Professions Education in the U-M Medical School and professor of Health Management and Policy in the U-M School of Public Health; Claire Hogikyan, Vice President of Administration at WDI; Dr. Lee Schroeder, Associate Professor, Chemical Pathology at Michigan Medicine, Dr. Thiyagarajan, Dhanalakshmi; Ioan Cleaton-Jones, Director of Healthcare Delivery at WDI; U-M undergraduate student Natasha Mehta; Noel Watson, CEO and Chief Executive Officer of Southerly Pharma; and Dr. Shane Quinonez, Clinical Associate Professor at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Kolars, Schroeder, Cleaton-Jones, Watson and Quinonez served as judges for the pitch competition.
Judges listening and taking notes during the presentations.
Dr. Thiyagarajan, Dhanalakshmi (left) and U-M undergraduate student Natasha Mehta (right) during their presentation.
The case competitions winners Dr. Thiyagarajan, Dhanalakshmi (left) and U-M undergraduate student Natasha Mehta (right) holding an oversized check for the award of $30,000.
Previous slide
Next slide

The William Davidson Institute and the Center for Global Health Equity at the University of Michigan are proud to announce the winning project of the 2024 Global Health Commercialization Pitch Competition — an innovative screening device designed to detect high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), especially tailored for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where such health resources are scarce. The winning team, led by Dhanalakshmi Thiyagarajan, MD of the U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, will receive funding and additional programmatic support over the next year to further develop the device. The team will actively engage in field feasibility studies over the coming year in partnership with Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, which not only serves as a major medical hub in Ghana but also stands as a key institution for healthcare provision and innovation across sub-Saharan Africa.

The innovative HPV screening device is the brainchild of a diverse and interdisciplinary team at the University of Michigan, comprising experts drawn from a range of fields and institutions. Collaborating with Thiyagarajan are co-investigators Julia Kramer, who brings a mechanical engineering perspective with her PhD and Master of Public Health background, and Kwaku Asah-Opoku, MD, contributing insights from his experience in obstetrics and gynecology at Ghana’s Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. Additionally, the research efforts benefit from the fresh perspective of a group of dedicated students from the Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives (M-HEAL) student organization: Suraj Menon, Ariana Layne, Natasha Mehta, and Alyssa O’Brien.

“Our team is mindful of the myriad challenges faced by women in LMICs when it comes to accessing healthcare,” shared Dr. Kwaku Asah-Opoku, a co-investigator in the project based in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana. “With our device, we aim to alleviate some of those barriers, although we know there’s still a long journey ahead of us.”

In low-income settings, traditional HPV screening methods such as pap smears and self-swabbing face numerous obstacles. Pap smears can be costly and require a clinic with a trained professional to administer the test, factors that impede access in resource-limited regions. Furthermore, these procedures can be invasive, causing discomfort and dissuading women from participating in essential screening. While self-swabbing offers a less invasive option than traditional pap smears, some preliminary research suggests that women in low-and middle-income countries have reservations about their ability to self-collect samples accurately without the supervision of a healthcare provider. Additionally, these women reported difficulties in finding a private and comfortable space to perform self-swabbing.

The team’s device presents a promising solution to overcome these barriers. Unlike standard urine collections which are often too diluted for accurate HPV detection, this device specifically collects the first 20mL of urine—a concentration increasingly shown to yield HPV detection rates comparable to self-swabbing. This method is economically advantageous, with the cost approximately halved from the standard $42 to around $21, making it a more feasible option for individuals in impoverished areas.

The device’s design embraces non-invasive, patient-centered principles. Women can use it within the comfort of their usual settings, as it neatly integrates into existing toilet facilities. The simplicity of the collection process means that women can gather the sample themselves at local health posts, significantly increasing screening accessibility. It’s also a boon for women with physical disabilities, eliminating the need for a speculum examination.

“We’re under no illusion that our work is a panacea, but we do believe it represents an important advancement in making HPV screening more accessible,” said Thiyagarajan. “Our hope is that this device can be a part of a larger solution to safeguard women’s health, opening doors to preventative care for women who need it the most.”

For the second consecutive year, the William Davidson Institute and the Center for Global Health Equity collaborated to present the Global Health Commercialization Competition, a pioneering initiative that invites faculty visionaries from across the University of Michigan’s three campuses to contribute groundbreaking healthcare solutions for the global stage. This annual competition is a beacon for innovative thinking in the face of daunting health issues prevalent in under-resourced regions of the world. Embracing an interdisciplinary methodology, the competition encourages the fusion of technical expertise and market-driven strategies to create interventions that are sustainable within the communities they aim to serve.

Claire Hogikyan, Vice President of Administration at the William Davidson Institute and programming leader for the competition, emphasized, “This collaborative environment is what propels innovators to traverse the last mile in healthcare delivery, ensuring that our efforts reach, and more importantly, resonate with those in need. It is this cross-sector synergy that ignites sustainable change, and we believe it’s a cornerstone for achieving global health equity.”

The passionate work of the U-M community, fortified by strategic partnerships and a shared vision for a better world, is truly lighting the way towards a healthier tomorrow that promises equity and accessibility for all.

About WDI

At the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, unlocking the power of business to provide lasting economic and social prosperity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is in our DNA. We gather the data, develop new models, test concepts and collaborate with partners to find real solutions that lead to new opportunities.

About CGHE

The University of Michigan has a long tradition of international engagement and individual global health programs that have often been centered within its numerous colleges and institutes. The Center for Global Health Equity aims to enhance the ongoing work of these existing efforts by fostering connectivity to increase cross-campus initiatives and programming. Global health leaders from across our academic units provided input to help define the Center’s thematic priorities and overall approach to impact.

Media Contact:

Scott Anderson, WDI Communications Manager

seander@umich.edu

Valerie Labi, Co-founder & CEO, wahu!

Time: 4 PM EDT

Date: April 3, 2024

Location: Blau Colloquium, 5th floor of the Blau Building at the Ross School of Business

wahu! is the first Ghanaian brand to produce electric vehicles domestically. The electric bike (e-bike) startup brings together local talent and experienced automotive engineers and designers from global automakers, including Audi and BMW.

In the talk, “How an E-Bike Startup is Looking to Change the Way Africa Moves,” Valerie Labi, co-founder and CEO of wahu! Mobility Ltd. will discuss how the business is unlocking new possibilities in low-emission mobility solutions, particularly in urban markets. By locally designing and manufacturing connected EVs for Africa and the wider world, wahu!’s value proposition includes ease of transport, a path to vehicle ownership and a gateway to sustainable employment through mobility services.

Labi is an entrepreneur who also served as Ghana country director for nonprofit iDE, International Development Enterprises, which focuses on market-based solutions in agriculture and water/sanitation. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Southampton and her Masters of Studies from the University of Cambridge in Sustainability Leadership.

This event is open to the public and sponsored by the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) in partnership with the African Studies Center at U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Attendees are encouraged to register (see below or click here) and submit questions in advance. Light refreshments will be served.

 

Graphic concept for speaker Valerie Labi, fo-founder of e-bike startup wahu!
The William Davidson Institute at The University of Michigan Logo
UM LSA African Studies Center logo

 

 

Healthcare

A patient using the Grip Forté rehabilitation device at a clinic in India. 

the Grip Forté hand and wrist rehabilitation device is a lesson in partnership. WDI connected U-M students, faculty and healthcare providers

The Grip Forté is a reasonably simple device to use. Created using a 3D-printer, the 8 inch square collapsible cube is powered by springs and the patient’s strength. It was developed to help patients to rehabilitate hand and wrist strength, flexibility, and control.

And while the Grip Forté itself isn’t complicated, the road from concept to construction wound through a series of partnerships – between teams around the globe, various departments at the University of Michigan, and engineers and healthcare professionals. Every step required a cooperative approach to problem-solving, medical support, and economic strategy. These are familiar commercial crossroads for the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI).

Developing a new medical product is a complex process and developing one for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is even more complicated. In these settings, creators must grapple with challenging supply chain resources, few investors, and limited knowledge of how best to commercialize a new product. Doing so demands a strong collective effort, and WDI relied on its deep well of partners to move this product forward. As its development progressed, the potential impact of Grip Forté became clear.

Finding a market, filling a need

The Grip Forté journey began with a course through the Global Health Design Initiative at the University of Michigan. Led by Kathleen Sienko, professor of mechanical engineering, and Julia Kramer, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, the immersive experience trains student engineers to work with stakeholders to identify up to 100 unmet medical needs with potential engineering solutions.

After narrowing down the possibilities, the student engineers landed on just such a pairing:  A mobile, small-scale device for patients needing to build strength and control following a hand or wrist injury. The WDI team decided to field test the device with both Dr. Abena Tannor, a Ghanaian clinician who recently completed specialist training in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and Dr. B. Shibu, Chief Medical Officer & Consultant Physiatrist at Poovanthi Rehabilitation Institute in India. WDI first began working with Poovanthi’s founders in 2010 when the organization was still in the planning stages and has continued the partnership since the organization was founded in 2011.

Learn more about Tannor’s story here.

Once they gained a good understanding of the specific therapy requirements, the students  designed a device to fit the need. The initial prototype showed promise but was set aside when the course came to completion and the students moved on. It was at this point in the project that Professor Sienko approached WDI to see about the business possibilities for the product.  WDI has worked with hundreds of organizations on business plans and models over the years and it began to take a lead role in investigating the commercial prospects for this device.

“At WDI, we understand and appreciate the power of collaboration in moving our mission forward and making things happen when it comes to launching new businesses and products,” said Claire Hogikyan, WDI Vice President of Administration, who has led the commercialization efforts. “As an independent nonprofit we have the ability and privilege to seamlessly reach out to other institutes and departments at the University to find projects that support their goals — while expanding economic and social freedom in LMICs. Grip Forté is one of those projects.”

Claire Hogikyn

At WDI, we understand and appreciate the power of collaboration in moving our mission forward and making things happen when it comes to launching new businesses and products.

WDI tasked two U-M Ross graduate students to determine the device’s potential business path forward, including possible price points, the likelihood of local manufacturing, and an assessment of the market. They determined there was a space for the product to thrive and, as importantly, a space for it to serve.

The students from the Global Health Design Initiative course had identified the need — a population in Ghana that required physical therapy but was underserved. Their prototype had potential, but there were challenges to overcome in the Ghanaian market. It was made of wood, which is heavy. It also relied on rubber bands for resistance training. However, the rubber bands necessary for that function are nearly impossible to find in Ghana. Considering the need, the commercial prospects, and the design issues, the WDI team set about to transform the initial prototype into a more viable product for the region.

Grip Forté in use.
Grip Forté in use.
Grip Forté in use.
Previous slide
Next slide

Leaning on Critical Connections

Building out a functional product wasn’t something WDI could do alone, so the Institute turned to its vast network of connections to bring the concept into existence. The first step was with Anthony M. Waas, a professor in the Aerospace Engineering department of the College of Engineering. He laid out a starting point for the team: 3D printing. It was the perfect solution to the production and supply chain challenges in most LMICs.

Tannor agreed with the assessment and was glad to lean into the technology. “Traditional rehabilitation methods and devices can be expensive and inaccessible. Grip Forté’s 3D printing technology provides a more cost-effective and easily accessible solution,” Tannor said via email.

WDI went on to enlist the work of Avin Vijay, an assistant research scientist also in the aerospace department. Vijay works closely with the mechanics of structures, 3D printing and design optimization. Vijay and his students created a prototype that could be completely manufactured in Ghana and around the globe. They built the Grip Forté using common thermoplastic polyester, with 3D-printed springs to replace the rubber bands and metric bolts that are small, sturdy and readily available.

On the production side, Colin Hunter, a student in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design who collaborates with the Department of Aerospace Engineering helped WDI select the best 3D printer for the job — one that would effectively and efficiently print the product and be readily available for a reasonable price in locations outside the U.S.

Once they began the printing process, the next step was to test the product. WDI leaned on its connections at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System to find local physical therapists to conduct some initial experiments. The staff determined the product had potential uses in LMICs, where patients need convenient access to these low-cost therapies. The WDI team decided to field test the device with both Dr. Tannor in Ghana and Dr. B. Shibu,  Chief Medical Officer & Consultant Physiatrist at Poovanthi Rehabilitation Institute in India.

This widespread evaluation and analysis was essential to developing the most effective design, explained Vijay. “WDI gave us critical global contacts for this project,” he said. “We now have a global market for the product and are receiving feedback from patients within those markets.”

WDI gave us critical global contacts for this project. We now have a global market for the product and are receiving feedback from patients within those markets.

This widespread evaluation and analysis was essential to developing the most effective design, explained Vijay. “WDI gave us critical global contacts for this project,” he said. “We now have a global market for the product and are receiving feedback from patients within those markets.”

Tannor and Shibu tested the products with patients in their centers and received mostly positive reviews. There was one issue: Patients were using the device for an additional exercise that it wasn’t built to support, breaking two of the springs. Vijay had a new task ahead of him: redesigning those springs to manage that new movement.

“WDI is co-located and affiliated with a major research university. We know there are other ideas out there languishing on shelves that could become commercialized products in LMICs. If there are other people with an idea, with a prototype, but who don’t know what to do next, WDI might be the place to go to,” said Hogikyan. “We have the skill and importantly, the connections to move ideas forward.”

An assembled Grip Forté and one ready for shipping.
3D rendering of the Grip Forté as a wood prototype.
3D rendering of the Grip Forté plastic prototype.
Previous slide
Next slide

Taking It a Step Further

As the Grip Forté continues to undergo field testing, it also continues to evolve. While Vijay and his students are tackling the issue of adjusting the springs, they’re also working on an avenue to turn its creation into a circular economy.

The team is developing ways to recycle plastic bottles into the filament needed to print the device. Using opensource code, the group is using the 3D printer to print a machine that will function as a recycling tool. This will add even more value to the local economy while also reducing the cost of 3D printing. Plastic bottle collectors could earn money by selling the material to device builders, enabling device builders to broaden their business by printing additional items.

“If we can put together a model where the endgame is both helping to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals while also repurposing plastic waste, that is a nice win,” Hogikyan said.

The Grip Forté is the most recent WDI commercialization project, but it’s far from the only one underway. WDI and the Technological Institute of the Philippines recently began a six-month effort to commercialize technologies produced through funded research and special projects. At the same time, WDI is supporting the second annual Global Health Commercialization Competition. Co-sponsored by Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI), the Center for Global Health Equity, and WDI, the competition will create and support a community of U-M faculty innovators actively working on technical solutions to healthcare problems in emerging markets. The program will include two key components: A professional development course and a pitch competition where the winning team will receive $30,000 to advance their concept to the marketplace.

WDI is partnering with the U-M School of Engineering’s Global Health Design Initiative, the Aerospace Engineering department and a doctor in Ghana to iterate on a design of a hand rehabilitation device with an eye toward commercialization in a Ghana Rehabilitation facility. The latest prototype was produced using 3D printing and the new “Grip Forté” is currently being field tested in Ghana. The team is expanding the project building a 3D printed PETG recycling device.

Powertrust connects corporate climate leaders with renewable energy projects in emerging markets by facilitating the issuance and sale of renewable energy credits (RECs). A team of MBA students worked with Powertrust to analyze the current interactions and potential market in Ghana.

WDI is partnering with the U-M School of Engineering’s Global Health Design Initiative and the Aerospace Engineering department to iterate on a design of a hand rehabilitation device with an eye toward commercialization in a Ghana Rehabilitation facility. The initial prototype was constructed of wood and the next iteration will be produced using 3D printing. The team is exploring working with Hewlett Packard in Africa.

The International Center for Rehabilitation (ICR) is a new rehabilitation clinic in Kumasi, Ghana opened by Dr. Abena Tannor, the first practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation physician in Ghana. This project focused on research related to the commercialization of a hand rehabilitation device and viability of setting up a 3D printing facility.

U-M Business students explore a laboratory as part of a WDI-sponsored project in Uganda with partner Busoga Health Forum (BHF). BHF’s goal is improving health in the Busoga region by developing new services and products. The U-M team provided a market assessment and recommendations for developing a diabetes product.

 

This select group of dedicated students has closed out another year of successful international student work — making an impact on campus and abroad

When faced with the task of choosing her MBA project, Alexis Kenworthy, a dual-degree graduate student, knew she could rely on the William Davidson Institute (WDI). She’d already connected with the Institute to work on the International Investment Fund project, and she’d been prioritizing international work since before her time at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

“WDI provides opportunities that I didn’t see exist in the traditional classroom setting. Business is becoming so international, and WDI is on the forefront of that,” said Kenworthy, who participated in two WDI-sponsored projects.

As Kenworthy noted, substantial real-world experiences elevate a business education, and each year students at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business integrate these critical pieces of the academic puzzle. MBA students are asked to complete Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAPs) in their first year, internships between their first and second years, and practical courses founded in action-based learning. Students looking to make an international impact through these requirements needn’t look far. WDI has supported global connections for more than 1,700 students through internships, courses and MAPs,  in more than 60 countries since the Institute was founded thirty years ago. And this year was no different.

Twenty graduate students pursuing their MBA at Ross participated in WDI-supported MAPs in 2022, helping advance the work of WDI partner organizations in Ghana, India, Uganda and Ukraine (virtually).

WDI offers projects, internships, and coursework that bridge academia and business — and a dedicated group of students who have completed at least two of these opportunities and demonstrated a commitment to addressing business challenges in low- and middle-income countries can attain a special designation: Davidson Field Scholars.

This select group of U-M graduate students actively engage with WDI and commit themselves to working with international partner organizations. For the 2021-2022 academic year WDI hosted five graduate students as scholars.

Kenworthy signed up and dug into her project — one that eventually allowed her to become a Davidson Field Scholar. In 2021, Kenworthy worked with a team of students to consult Private Equity Support, an organization in Kenya that assists small businesses in gaining seed funding, in boosting business efficiencies. She and her team analyzed organizational processes to find ways to streamline resources and improve reach. After working closely with the business, the team made recommendations on adopting automated procedures, eliminating unnecessary meetings, and decreasing labor-intensive efforts.

Kenworthy also recommended that the group tap into WDI’s extensive network. These connections serve students, professionals, and organizations, and that was the case for both Kenworthy and Private Equity Support. Through the network, the consulting team was able to find guidance on managing related business challenges, and Private Equity Support was able to find partners that have walked a similar path.

It’s an experience she said she never could have had without WDI’s guidance. “There’s so much to learn, and WDI can help provide that,” Kenworthy added.

FROM BRAINSTORM TO IMPLEMENTATION

Kenworthy’s desire to stretch her international business experience is common among the scholars. Isabel Randolph, a recent MBA graduate, felt a similar pull.

She first connected with WDI for her own MAP, working to assess a potential project for a fortified-foods producer and health company in Rwanda. She turned back to WDI for her summer internship and found a Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs (MADE) role. WDI is a founding partner of MADE, along with Poornatha Foundation in India and the Zell Lurie Institute at Ross. MADE was established to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in low- and middle-income countries through local Entrepreneur Development Organizations (EDOs). It connects the resources of the U-M with EDOs in the field and provides additional support.

For her project, Randolph worked to connect an Indian online-training company, Poornatha, with Senegal’s Institut Africain de Management (IAM), a private business school, with the goal of growing the reach and impact of their online training programs. Her team took an extensive training curriculum from Poornatha and developed a path for implementation at IAM.

The efforts were a success. IAM launched the updated training modules and has plans to continue the collaboration. “I was very excited to hear that,” Randolph said. “On these projects, sometimes with small businesses that have big impacts, there’s only so much they can do in a day. It’s really exciting to see the pilot come to fruition, see through the whole process, and hear about the potential for future collaboration.”

STUDENT-DRIVEN BUSINESS CHANGE

There was something else special about Randolph’s project: She was the one responsible for the entire outcome. “A lot of what we do at Ross is very collaborative. You’re usually with a team, which is like my work experience. It’s important, but one thing I liked about this experience is it was basically me. I wasn’t on a team. I was working with client counterparts, but I was leading the project.” This sentiment — that students can drive real impact in the business world — is at the core of WDI’s Davidson Field Scholars programming.

For Randolph, taking on the WDI-supported project between her first and second MBA year and becoming a Davidson Field Scholar was perfect timing. She was able to step back from her coursework and apply the skills she’d been learning to the real world. She could see the reason she was completing assignments and spending time in the classroom.

“This is why we’re here in school,” she explained. “It was an awesome touchpoint right in the middle of my MBA experience. To get a chance to really use those skills, apply them, and build that confidence is a direct application of what I am learning in class.”

WDI’s Healthcare Delivery sector is offering an online program to equip management executives of private hospitals, clinics, and healthcare delivery enterprises in low- and middle-income countries with the skills to improve efficiency through better processes, and to allocate costs more accurately for better strategic and pricing decisions. The program includes modules on Process Analysis and Optimization, Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing, and Healthcare Supply Chain. Modules on Cost Management and Control, and Due Diligence are in development. The program consists of online, asynchronous training for each of the two modules; synchronous remote class sessions via Zoom; and a team-based action learning project based on a real business challenge at the participating institutions. To date, six hospitals from Mexico, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Pakistan have participated in the courses. They are: Nyaho Medical Center, Ghana; Grupo OSME, Mexico; Evercare Hospital Lekki, Nigeria; AfyA Care, Nigeria; Avenue Healthcare, Kenya; and Evercare Hospital Lahore, Pakistan.

Participants in the Communication workshop post their selfies to the ExtendEd portal.

 

How does an educator convene a global classroom across a dozen countries, numerous cultures and differing perspectives? Sometimes, it’s better to instead let the students set the pace. 

WDI’s Education Sector team recently tailored two fully online courses for The Ford Motor Company Fund as part of the Ford Community Impact Fellows Training program. Students accepted into the program work together to advance understanding and new thinking around topics such as innovation and entrepreneurship. 

The courses were tailored to the students’ needs by key personnel at WDI’s Global Virtual Learning Center (GVLC), which was established to advance the field to create international linkages and promote economic growth in emerging markets. Students hailed from a dozen countries including Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco and Sierra Leone. 

“In this day and age, we all need to be continuous learners,” said Amy Gillett, vice president of the Education sector. “In a time when it’s difficult or impossible to bring people together face to face, this format is really effective and it also sets students up for making long-term connections with one another.”

The two fully online courses include one module on developing leadership qualities and a second on improving interpersonal communication skills. About 130 students participated in the leadership module, offered for seven weeks ending April 11, and 179 students are taking part in the five-week communications module, set to end July 12. The leadership course helped participants understand themselves as leaders on both personal and team levels, and drew on the Michigan Model of Leadership. The communications course emphasized cross-cultural communication, managing emotions and interpreting body language across different nationalities and traditions. 

WDI produced the content for the courses, which were hosted on the ExtendEd portal – the Institute’s proprietary learning management system. Students viewed a series of instructional videos on ExtendEd, followed by quizzes to check for comprehension. Students were assigned to teams across countries to work on a project together and practice their new leadership skills. 

While the students were from many different countries, pursuing a wide variety of degrees and occupations – from business to medicine – a well-designed online learning environment was a perfect vehicle for bringing them together. 

“It’s an efficient way to reach people with targeted training, and it’s the way people prefer to learn,” said Gillett. “They want to learn when they have time to learn, even if it’s in 15-minute increments. Students log in at their own pace, learn at their own pace, and take the modules on any device.”

The course is a perfect example of a small private online community – or SPOC – which is designed to nurture an intimate learning environment where students can interact and get to know one another other. 

Learn more about WDI’s approach to online learning 

At the conclusion of the modules, WDI hosts a live webinar to summarize the learning. This is followed by sending participants a series of reminders on what they learned in the course. Such reminders — “Memory Pings” — also prompt them to apply what they learn in the course back on the job.

“It’s vitally important to provide opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders to share new ideas and brainstorm sustainable solutions to make people’s lives better,” said Farah Harb, Global Education Programs Analyst, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Learning and leadership are essential as we navigate and adapt to our constantly changing world.”

Many students found the WDI courses very valuable. 

“Giving back to society and creating positive (impact) has always been my passion. In the world, there are so many challenges facing us,” … to fix these problems, the world needs great leaders with great leadership skills and this course has shown me surely that great leaders can be created or trained,“ wrote one student of the Leadership workshop. 

Another student noted: “This workshop has been an eye opener and I am certain I am ready to work in every environment.”

As a final assignment, the students submitted videos exploring cross-cultural learning and how to apply that knowledge to real-world scenarios. The finalists for the contest and their video stories, can be found below:

1st Place:
Team 11, Learning Group C:
https://youtu.be/laznpNIkgrE
2nd Place:
Team 2, Learning Group A:
https://youtu.be/63eZmtafXx8
3rd Place:
Team 20, Learning Group D:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqeAv39OrVo

 

Back to Top