Watch LIVE Recorded Webinar



Digital Healthcare - Fighting COVID with Technology at Scale

Speakers' Panel
Prof. Suman Chakraborty, Prof. - Mechanical Eng'g Department & Dean of Sponsored Research & Consultancy, IIT - Kharagpur
Dr. Alain Labrique, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. Kunal Parikh, Inventor, Entrepreneur & Founder - Global Institute for Vision Equity
Webinar Chair
Dr. Raj Shah, Chairman, HealthCare Council & Board Member WHEELS Global Foundation

Webinar Moderator
Dr. Amita Gupta, Deputy Director, Professor, Covid Task Force & Head - JHU India Institute

In June, WHEELS Global Foundation launched a four-part webinar series to cover ‚ÄúLessons Learned from COVID surges‚ÄĚ. In last webinar, we heard from workers in the field about their experiences and some of the key outcomes of their work, and the need for better preparedness and public policies to combat this deadly virus. You can watch this¬†Here.

Please join us for the second webinar in this series, where we will hear from leading researchers at Johns Hopkins University and The Indian Institute of Technology on their activities surrounding ‚ÄúDigital Healthcare‚ÄĚ. We have the opportunity to hear from leading scientists and engineers about new emerging technologies and ‚Äėfrugal designs‚Äô for rapidly scaling detection, prevention, and treatment of Covid and other R&D activities. Johns Hopkins University is the premier Public Health Research institution and leads a ‚ÄėTaskforce on COVID‚Äô in the USA. The Indian Institutes of Technology have launched their own programs designed for indigenous manufacture of products at scale for Indian conditions. Please note our esteemed panelists and register for this interesting and informative webinar.

Please join us LIVE on ZOOM, Saturday, JULY 31st, 2021, from 10 AM to 11:30 AM US ET, (7:30 PM to 09 PM IST), in an open dialogue with the Panelists & Moderator. (Registration is Free).


Upon registration, you may send your questions in advance to¬†[email protected].¬†The webinar will also be¬†broadcast on ¬†WHEELS Facebook Page¬†and other social media platforms.¬†Attendees will also be able to post their questions during the webinar. You can join the webinar 15 min early (i.e. 09:45 AM ET OR 07:15 PM IST) to watch the slide show on WGF activities and related project videos. Past webinars have stressed the importance of collaboration among NGOs to scale operations and increase the impact. For more information visit:¬†

Panelist's Overview

Prof. Suman Chakraborty is a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India, and Sir J. C. Bose National Fellow as bestowed by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. He has been Institute Chair Professor. He is currently the Dean of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy. Formerly, he was the Head of the School of Medical Science and Technology. His current areas of research include microfluidics, nanofluidics, micro-nano scale transport, with a particular focus on biomedical applications including diagnostic technology. He has been awarded the Santi Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize in the year 2013, which is the highest Scientific Award from the Government of India. He has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow of ASME, Fellow of all the Indian National Academies of Science and Engineering, recipient of the G. D Birla Award for Scientific Research, Indo-US Research Fellowship, Scopus Young Scientist Award for high citation of his research in scientific/technical Journals, and Young Scientist/ Young Engineer Awards from various National Academies of Science and Engineering. He has also been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, and a visiting Professor at various leading Universities abroad. He has a large volume of impactful publications in top International Journals with high citations and unique expertise in technology development for the under-served population and community health care.

Dr. Alain Labrique is an infectious disease epidemiologist, community trialist, and globally recognized leader in the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to strengthen health systems in resource-limited settings. His research focuses on leveraging mobile and digital technologies to solve public health problems - improving data collection, promoting healthy behaviors, optimizing quality/timeliness of services -- but more importantly, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Digital Health, redefining public health of the future.

Dr. Kunal Parikh is an inventor and entrepreneur working at the intersection of MedTech, social enterprise, and finance to enable health equity globally. Kunal is currently a faculty member in the Center for Nanomedicine and Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design at Johns Hopkins University where he leads a multidisciplinary team of engineers, scientists, and clinicians to innovate and commercialize biomedical solutions for significant and unmet clinical needs. Kunal also leads the Global Institute for Vision Equity, a social venture studio working to eliminate avoidable blindness through the development, translation, and distribution of technologies addressing the most critical eye care needs in under-resourced settings. He has also founded, led, and raised funding for several organizations, including Core Quantum Technologies, Social Innovation Lab, Access HEARS, and Eyedea Medical. He earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University. He has been recognized as a Leader of Tomorrow for the Mid-Atlantic bioeconomy and by Forbes as one of 30 under 30 in Healthcare.

Dr. Amita Gupta is Faculty Chair of the Johns Hopkins India Institute, Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education, and Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Gupta has 25+ years of experience in international public health, clinical research, and 18 years of working in infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and antimicrobial resistance in India. She serves as the US chair of the NIH-DBT funded TB research consortium RePORT, leads several clinical trials of new HIV/TB therapeutics, and collaborates with more than 15 Indian institutions. She and her Indian collaborators receive grant funding from the US NIH, CDC, UNITAID, Indian government, foundations, and philanthropy. She is an author of more than 200 peer-reviewed research publications and has mentored more than 35 junior scientists in India and the US. She serves on Anthony Fauci’s NIAID Advisory Council and the Indo-US Science and Technology Foundation’s Governing Board.

Dr. Raj Shah is a member of the Board of WHEELS Global Foundation and a Program Director of its Track on Health, is a practicing cardiologist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur based in Philadelphia. He is educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Temple and Drexel University faculties. He is a pioneer in the field of telemedicine and the creator of the SmartCareDoc telemedicine system which was deployed at ‚ÄúThe Clinic at Wal-Mart‚ÄĚ in 2012-14: The first telemedicine clinic in the retail store in America. He established a TeleRetinopathy screening program at the Temple University Health System in 2016 and a teaching Teleclinic at the School of Nursing at Rutgers University. He is also a Research Fellow at the Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center at Rutgers University for the study of Pharmaceutical Management and Healthcare and lectures about Telemedicine. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Kean University College of Business and Public Management and Global Business School, a Trustee of S.M. Shah Law College, and Sarvajanik School in Mehsana, India.

WHEELS Global Foundation(WGF), "An Initiative of IIT Alumni, USA" with the mission of Technology-Enabled Philanthropy. WHEELS has also been selected by NITI Aayog, Govt. of India as a member of the Committee for Innovation and Technology Transfer. WHEELS has also signed an MOU with the Ministry for Panchayati Raj for a technology partnership in Rural Development.

POST WEBINAR Outcomes & Key Take-Aways

Access to Affordable Healthcare
Technology-Enabled Cost-Effective
Healthcare Easy Access for Rural-Community via Telemedicine 'HEART' Centers
The Heart Model: the acronym Heart stands for Health Care Easy Access for Rural communities via Telemedicine was designed and implemented with a mission to provide Access to Affordable healthcare, recognizing that poor villagers may not have the means to get hardware, software, and Internet connectivity to receive digital remote healthcare.

The wheels foundation donates the onetime cost of hardware and charges the patient a small fee to cover the operating costs which can be waived if it is covered by a charity organization.

Wheels technology partner Evolko India‚Äôs staff provide hardware and software training to one male and one female person who must be residents of the village, we call them ‚ÄúSahayak‚ÄĚ which means the helpers. The sahayak screens and triage patients at their homes, collect vital signs and get them ready for the visit, and initiate video calls with remote physicians. Wheels started its Telemedicine program, the HEART Centers in six villages of Chanchu tribe in Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh, in collaboration with RDT Foundation in January of this year.

Remember, for more than 2000 years, healthcare was always delivered in person. Only in the past 20 years, Thanks to the advancement in technology, we are able to deliver it remotely online! And during the Covid pandemics, because of imposed lockdown and severe travel restrictions, people could not go anywhere to receive care, so remote telemedicine care was the best alternative and it turns out to be the Shining Star of Success. It helped to screen, triage, and treat patients at their homes when appropriate, thereby reducing the cost and burden on the care facilities and hospitals. I believe, our HEART model of telemedicine center is the most cost-effective way to deliver digital healthcare to the rural population: at the extreme point of care, the last point level as discussed by Prof. Chakrabarty. Let me say that Our heart centers are not just for Covid but will continue to provide access to quality healthcare by bringing digital technology at the point of care and help in addressing major issues of Anemia, Malaria, Infectious Diseases, TB, Blindness, Parasitic Infestations, Noncommunicable Disease like Hypertension, Diabetes, Prenatal Maternal, and child health care, mental health problems and so on and so forth.

The Indian government has recognized the value of digital remote care and started its eSanjeevani program of telephone or video calls from patients to doctors starting in August 2020. More than 6 million teleconsultations have been performed to date. During Covid 19 pandemics 2nd wave in India, we appealed for donations which got a tremendous response. After receiving generous donations of more than $350,000 in the last 3 months, from our own board members, Mr. Rajat Gupta, Anil Bhandari, Ron Mehta, Hiten Ghosh, Suresh Shenoy to mention a few, as well as support and donations from Ishan Shivanand of Yoga of Immortals with help of Dr. Bindu Kansupada and Doctor Raj Bhayani, the president of Federation of Indian physicians associations, FIPA, and more than 600 other donors.

During Covid Emergency, with the help and generosity of our technology partner Amit Khare and Arjun Malhotra of Evolko, India, we quickly expanded our telemedicine heart centers in more than 300 sites in UP, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh serving patients free of charge.

Covid 19 pandemics has not only caused physical illnesses and deaths but, has also caused social and economic devastations from loss of income resulting in food, water, and shelter shortages. This has further aggravated the problems. During the pandemics, Mental health issues and suicides have skyrocketed from anxiety, fear, isolation, depression, and death of loved ones as people are unable to cope up. Therefore, We need to do a lot more, than just physical healthcare, Because health is not merely the absence of disease, but a state of physical, mental, and socio-economic well-being, as defined by the World Health Organization in its constitution in 1948. Therefore, we should thrive to achieve for everyone, that state of complete health as defined by WHO.

Wheels Global Foundation has aligned with Yoga immortal and Shiv Yog foundations to help mental health issues. Their yoga and meditation video program by Shri Ishan Shivanad has successfully helped more than a million people. They also have generously donated lifesaving equipment, more than 6000 tons of grain and provided families with shelter and jobs. We have aligned with the SEVAK foundation serving villages in the Aravalli district of Gujarat.

We are also exploring various ways to synergize healthcare delivery to villagers with Ekal Foundation under the leadership of Shri Bajarang Bagara, who was the speaker in our last webinar, Indus-Setu Global Foundation under the leadership of Priya and Nalini Tandon, and many other NGOs doing great work. We also facilitate and accelerate the research and development of, cost-effective lifesaving medical equipment like oxygen concentrators, oxygen generators, ventilators, personal protective equipment, rapid Covid testing, and vaccination, etc. at various IIT institutions.

The picture mentioned below shows how we have utilized donations and what we did in the last 3 months. So WHEELS is going well beyond just the telemedicine care & will continue to provide healthcare well past Covid. We sincerely appeal and hope that you will generously donate and support Wheels activities.
To Know More about the Project HEART, Click Here
For the technocrats of the world and IIT in particular, we healthcare providers need:
  • Reliable, Accurate, Easy to use, and cost-effective hardware, software, electronic medical record system, diagnostic devices, and rapid diagnostic testing at the point of care.
  • Supply chain technology for efficient resource allocations of life-saving medical equipment, hospital beds, healthcare workers, drugs, vaccines, etc during emergencies.

WHEELS wish list for the government and healthcare policymakers:

  • Relief from unnecessary onerous regulations and compliance requirements.
  • Uniform National medical licensing and registration.
  • Activate national disaster management authority and empower them with quick decision-making and make it a single point of contact for obtaining all the information during an emergency.
  • Professional Liability Immunity for charity work and Protection from frivolous lawsuits.
  • Basic emergency healthcare education for the public at large and regular education and disaster emergency response drills for healthcare workers.


Digital Healthcare ‚Äď Joint event with Johns Hopkins University

~ Communicate the availability of a ‚ÄúLibrary of Videos‚ÄĚ on ‚ÄėDigital Healthcare‚Äô available from JHU and others. WHEELS can help to translate through Spoke¬† Tutorials with help from sponsors.

~ WHEELS can augment the JHU library with videos on Mental health, Vision-care, Anemia, Maternal health, Nutrition, and other specialties. Leverage WGF Telemedicine and HEART business model to give access to these educational videos to rural communities.

~ Create more ‚ÄėMobile Health Facilities‚Äô with Vans/Buses to reach remote areas.

~ Government/Regulatory approval of Digital healthcare technologies for testing and treatment must be accelerated. This should include standardization, quality control, and acceptance of AYUSH practices.

~ Recognize and promote indigenous development of low-cost/affordable testing kits, Ambu-bags, ventilators, Oxygen concentrators, etc. at local universities and colleges such as the IITs and AIIMs.

~ Create ‚ÄúWellness Centers‚ÄĚ and accelerate the adoption of Telemedicine/Telehealth facilities through aggressive training, social awareness campaigns, and sharing best practices for Digital Healthcare, sanitation, clean water, nutrition, etc.

~ Envision Public Health Healthcare and related services in rural communities as ‚ÄĚjob creators‚ÄĚ with an impact on the national economy and a policy priority.

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