THE BLOG
02/02/2017 12:00 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2018

WANTED: Idealistic students to save millions of lives

Successfully addressing opportunity gaps requires great partners. One of those partners for the Siemens Foundation is PATH, the Seattle-based global health organization. Together, we're working to ensure that tomorrow's innovators have an opportunity to apply their innovative spirit in ways that truly make a difference in the world. In the spirit of partnership, I invited Steve Davis, CEO of PATH, to co-author the following:

Conventional wisdom about STEM education in the U.S. goes something like this: We need to do a better job teaching our students math and science so they can fill a mind-boggling number of high-paying jobs in the tech sector, which are fueling our economy.

That's certainly part of the story.

But if we view STEM education primarily as a fast track to a comfortable, high-paying job, we're selling our students short--because STEM education can also lead to a career that serves humanity's highest needs.

If we stoke their idealism along with their academic passions, today's STEM students will lead us toward a world where preventable illnesses no longer threaten the lives of children, all women have the power to protect their health and their families, and every community has the health solutions it needs to thrive.

The biggest problems need the brightest minds

It takes imagination and audacity to take on the world's toughest problems. It also takes discipline and rigor--the hallmarks of STEM education. As the world gets more complex and interconnected, we need the brightest minds on the biggest problems in global health.

That's why our organizations teamed up last year to create the Siemens Foundation-PATH Fellowship, a summer program that pairs promising undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields with scientists at PATH and mentors from Siemens Healthineers, the global technology company's health diagnostics division.

Our goal is to expose them to specialized fields--such as diagnostics development--where business interests intersect with global health needs, fueling rich cross-sector partnerships that accelerate innovation.

What a fellowship looks like

Last summer, our first six fellows worked in PATH's diagnostics laboratory on important projects--they looked for new ways to test the integrity of dried blood samples, worked on new diagnostic tests for malaria and intestinal parasites, and studied how access to diagnostics encourages healthy behavior. At the end of the summer, the fellows presented their research to their Siemens mentors at the company's healthcare diagnostics facility in Tarrytown, New York.

These pioneering fellows told us that having mentors at both PATH and Siemens gave them a unique and nuanced perspective of potential career tracks, plus insight into the ways different sectors approach seemingly intractable problems to create change on a global scale.

Many paths to a healthier world

Diagnostics is just one career path for STEM students who care about health equity. The global health workforce of the future desperately needs computer scientists to focus on data visualization and digital health solutions; engineers to dream up devices that work in low-resource settings; social scientists to re-think health systems; and statisticians and mathematicians to evaluate the impact of health innovations.
In this quickly changing world, who knows what skills and tools will help us push the boundaries of innovation in the future? We know this: we need smart young people to lead the way.

Find details and learn how to apply here.