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Dr. Layla McCay
Layla's career has adopted a focus around roles beginning with the letter P, from physician, pathologist and psychiatrist to policy wonk and public health specialist. Currently she is aptly the Director of the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing secretariat - and Adjunct Professor of International Health at Georgetown University.

Layla has worked for the World Health Organization, World Bank, British Government, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Basic Needs, and Bupa. She has conducted health services research at Glasgow, Osaka, and Harvard Universities, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, LSE and LSHTM. She writes for the Huffington Post and National Geographic. In her spare time she is the Director of Perfect Liars Club. In 2011 Layla was named Britain's 'top' professional woman under the age of 35; she moved to Washington DC, and in 2014 was named a 50 on Fire DC finalist.

All blogs express Layla's personal thoughts, opinions, and random musings, and not those of the organizations to which she is or has been affiliated, unless otherwise specified.

Entries by Dr. Layla McCay

Hygiene: The Cinderella of the SDG ball

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 3:52 PM

You might be wondering why 90 international organizations have joined together to call for hygiene in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this week.

Hygiene -- specifically handwashing with soap -- is fundamental to reducing child mortality and fighting undernutrition, as well as advancing education, gender equity, dignity, and human...

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Is It Enough to Idly Hope Our Chef Won't Poison Us?

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2015 | 9:50 AM

A chef, a prep-cook and a waiter walk into a rest room.

A sign over the sink says: "Have you washed your hands?"

They say, "No, but I suppose we should, now you mention it..."

Perhaps not the most hilarious attempt at a joke. But when...

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Defining 21st Century Success: Are You Expert 2.0 or Hero 2.0?

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2014 | 7:05 PM

I want to be clear: I'm not 100 years old. But when the twelve year old girl sitting next to me at the Broadcom Masters awards started talking about what to do with Raspberry Pi, the first answer that came to my mind was: "eat it?" No. "It's a credit...

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Ebola, Other Hospital-Acquired Infections... and Handwashing

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2014 | 2:23 PM

As hundreds of millions of people around the world celebrate Global Handwashing Day on Oct. 15, the focus on promoting handwashing comes at a pertinent time for health services. The Ebola outbreak has compelled health facilities around the world to assess their infection control readiness. In the hopefully...

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Women in STEM: It's Time to Redesign the Pipeline

(6) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 6:06 PM

Apparently, a key reason that young women aren't choosing careers in STEM is dating. Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College, found concern that their 'geeky' male classmates will present poor social prospects is genuinely one of three key barriers to young women entering STEM (along with concerns...

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The Etiquette of Personal Mobile Device Use in Public

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 5:46 PM

Probably one of the more mortifying moments of my mother's life happened when she was at a talk by the Dalai Lama. At a particularly meaningful moment in his speech, the thing we all dread happened: her cellphone started ringing. She was aghast. The audience was aghast. This was back...

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Why mHealth Is Caught Between Vision and Reality

(2) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 11:01 PM

This morning I braved snow and a two-hour, three-forms-of-public-transport expedition to the Gaylord National Conference Center to prepare for the future. In its fifth year, the mHealth Summit is the place for mHealth aficionados from the clinical, policy, tech, business, and academic worlds to come together, show and...

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Why We Should Let Go of Nostalgia and Embrace the Evolution of Libraries

(2) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 12:49 PM

As my cable car smoothly glided towards the old slum areas of Medellin in Colombia, I soared above a hillside lined by basic, tin-roofed abodes... and one gigantic, architecturally intriguing building -- my destination: the Spain library.

In my pre-internet youth, libraries were my personal treasure trove. It wasn't...

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Why Today's 13-year-old LinkedIn Users Might Revolutionize Tomorrow's Workplace

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 6:40 PM

While hiding from the riots in an ill-timed vacation to Colombia this week, a couple of Financial Times articles caught my eye. My penchant for the potential of social media compelled me to click on Robert Shrimsley's article on LinkedIn opening up to those as young as thirteen...

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Lunch Date Dilemma: Little Black Book of Scientists or Little Colorful Book of Sci-lit?

(1) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 10:50 AM

Is science literature an essential tool for democratizing research, or is it a relic of a pre-internet age? During the excellent World Science Festival in New York a few weeks ago, I sensed this unspoken question percolating through many of the "we-love-science-lit" sessions I attended, and I was...

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Drawing Inspiration From TEDMED's 'GroupInspire'

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 10:38 AM

Ah, TEDMED, you expensive but addictive drug. I just can't get enough of you. Can it have been a whole year since that golden ticket slipped through my letterbox, admitting me, albeit for just one morning, to your exclusive world of inspiration and innovation?

You may recall...

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The Ephemeral Fugitives of Global Health Research

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 1:22 PM

This week I went to the launch of a brand new journal, Global Health: Science and Practice. Funded by USAID, and supported by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, George Washington University and Knowledge for Health, it hits all the buzzwords of the global health and development zeitgeist:...

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The Strange Joy Of Visiting Foreign Hospitals

(3) Comments | Posted March 13, 2013 | 8:30 AM

I have a nerdy hobby that's usually only indulged in adversity: I love visiting foreign hospitals.

Give me the choice of viewing a museum or a hospital on vacation and I will opt for the latter -- only as a passing visitor, ideally. Foreign healthcare can be a risky business,...

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Let's Come Out and Surprise People With the Ordinariness of Being Gay

(16) Comments | Posted January 25, 2013 | 9:56 PM

If I were Rory Albanese's sister (or his sister's girlfriend), I'd have been furious. On Saturday night I went to see Albanese and his Daily Show co-stalwart Adam Lowitt at their inauguration-themed comedy show at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C., but amid the political wit,...

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Where Are the Women Speakers on Expert Panels, and Does It Matter?

(1) Comments | Posted January 16, 2013 | 4:51 PM

Browsing my speaker list at the Washington Ideas Forum a few weeks ago, billed as 'a place to hear and meet the most prominent thinkers of our time,' I couldn't help but notice that 35 out of the 41 speakers at the event were men, and being in...

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Would You Put Your Live Twitter Feed on Your Resume?

(6) Comments | Posted November 29, 2012 | 4:48 PM

Would you be comfortable if your latest tweets were used as part of the recruitment process for a university place, or for a new job? I was intrigued by an American Medical Association article drawing attention to a survey of medical school/residency recruiters published earlier this...

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Working 9-5: An Anachronism to End or Embrace?

(6) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 2:00 PM

Is working 9-5 an anachronism? Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of The Atlantic magazine's most popular article ever, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All," thinks it is. By 'having it all,' she means simultaneously being a good mother and having a top job. And as for whether we can...

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Do Women Care About More Than Children, Lovelife and Fashion?

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 10:28 AM

As a woman who very much believes that men and women are equal in most respects and ought to be treated as such, I feel sorry to call foul on actress Maria Bello, recently named goodwill ambassador for women by Haiti's president, for her advocacy work with women...

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Do Mobile Entrepreneurs Live in a World Without Borders, or Is It All 'Globaloney'?

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 2:10 PM

How relevant are national borders today? David Livingstone famously wrote in the 1850s that the innovation of railroads, steamships and telegraphs make the world one -- national borders melt away and Africa could basically be integrated into Europe. The more modern version of those modes of connection -- the plane,...

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Time to Stop Playing Business Card Scrabble With Our Qualifications?

(0) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 9:24 AM

This week both my real life and my Twitter feed have been jumping with the question of post-nominal letters: what letters (if any) should you put after your name on a business card? I live in Washington D.C. where business cards are traded like gold. It's not a secret that...

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