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Creative Minds from Across Sectors Gather at SwitchPoint to Address Global Challenges

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- International experts, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists will gather in North Carolina later this week to form partnerships and find solutions to some of the greatest global health and development challenges of our day.

SwitchPoint 2014, an annual two-day conference, will be held April 24-25 in Saxapahaw, North Carolina. Hosted by IntraHealth International and now in its third year, the event is known for convening big thinkers from countries around the world in the fields of business, technology, global health, development, design, media, the arts, and more.

Together, attendees share and develop innovations to further social good and improve lives around the world.

Attendees can expect fast-paced, engaging presentations, interactive microlabs, and plenty of networking opportunities. SwitchPoint is based on the idea that combining a good idea from one field with a good idea from another can lead to unexpected solutions—often across industries—to global health and development challenges.

Take the Odón Device, for example. It started with a party trick for extracting a cork from inside a wine bottle. But a car mechanic in Argentina saw another use for it. He adapted the concept into an apparatus that helps ease the way for a baby stuck in the birth canal. The Odón Device is inexpensive, low-tech, and endorsed by the World Health Organization. It also has the potential to save countless babies' lives and reduce C-sections around the world.

Mechanic-turned-inventor Jorge Odón is one of over 40 speakers who will appear at SwitchPoint. Others include:

  • Clive Thompson, contributing writer for New York Times Magazine and columnist for Wired magazine. He is author of the new book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.
  • Patricia Mechael, executive director of the mHealth Alliance, which is hosted by the United Nations Foundation.
  • Krishna Udayakumar, head of global innovation for Duke Medicine. He serves as executive director of the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery and co-principal investigator for the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke.
  • Phaedra Boinodiris, producer of IBM's award-winning INNOV8 series of serious games, keynote speaker at two NATO summits, and cofounder of Her gamification strategies have been praised by many, from techies to four-star generals.
  • Andy Carvin, author of Distant Witness, a first-person recap of the Arab Spring. He served as senior social media strategist for NPR and is now with First Look Media.
  • Christine Sow, executive director of the Global Health Council. She has over 20 years of leadership experience in global health and development.
  • Ken Banks, founder of and FrontlineSMS. He is devoted to sparking positive social and environmental change in developing countries through mobile technology.
  • Sika Nabiliou, an architectural and entrepreneurial wunderkind from Togo. Her latest venture involves recycling plastic waste from electronic devices into building materials.
  • Lisa Russell, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. She is cofounder of and currently works for Governess Films.

To see a full list of speakers, visit

North Carolina's Research Triangle area, a wellspring of technical and biomedical enterprise, is a fitting backdrop for the event. In January, President Obama announced that the area will become the nation's newest manufacturing innovation hub. The Triangle has great potential to, as President Obama said during the announcement, "help build new partnerships in areas that show potential."

Register for SwitchPoint at

IntraHealth International is a global health nonprofit that champions the critical role of health workers in health and development. For over 30 years, IntraHealth has empowered health workers to better serve communities in need, fostering local solutions to health care challenges by improving health worker performance, strengthening health systems, harnessing technology, and leveraging partnerships. The nonprofit's work is supported and funded by the US Agency for International Development, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, private foundations, corporations and individuals.

SOURCE IntraHealth International

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