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Contributing Author

Non-Communicable Disease Services: CLASSY Awards Top 5

Non-Communicable Disease programs address non-infectious and often chronic disorders affecting, among others, the heart, kidney, lung, blood, stomach, nervous system and skin. Their services include preventing the disease, achieving early diagnosis of the disease, or improving the management of the disease. View the key indicators of this subcategory here.


Hearing Restoration Project
Hearing Health Foundation
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING 48 million Americans experience hearing loss and between 25 and 50 million also experience tinnitus. Hearing loss has been linked to other serious health problems such as depression and dementia. Those with a mild hearing loss are twice as likely to develop dementia, and this risk increases with the severity of the hearing loss.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Hearing Restoration Project
Program Name

United States
Location

2011
Start date

Peter G. Barr-Gillespie
Program Director

@HearingHealthFn[/su_pullquote]

The Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) works to develop a genuine, biologic cure for hearing loss and tinnitus through regenerating hair cells in the ear that, when damaged, cause hearing loss. In most non-mammals, these cells naturally regrow thus restoring their own hearing. The HRP is a world-wide consortium of scientists working collaboratively to translate this science to humans in 10 years. They developed the Strategic Research Plan to lay out the process; the 1st phase includes discovery research, comparative genomics and cell tracking analyses. The 2nd phase focuses on driving remaining cells to form new hair cells thus restoring hearing. In Phase 3, they will partner with pharmaceutical companies to develop a regenerative therapy. Since funding for HRP research projects commenced, HRP has funded over $1,700,000 for research projects and have been able to successfully analyze hundreds of genes and pathways in mice, chickens, and zebrafish to understand what roles different genes play in hair cell loss and supporting cell regrowth. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Peter G. Barr-Gillespie, Director of HRP” class=”top5″]Progress towards a successful strategy for restoring hearing has been hampered by the scattershot approach to the problem taken by individual investigators. In the HRP, a consortium of outstanding scientists has chosen to work together collaboratively towards this common goal, an approach that should substantially shorten the time needed to devise a way to restore hearing in people with hearing loss. [/su_quote]
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HCP & Tilaganga- Changing Eye Care in Nepal
Himalayan Cataract Project
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Each year, an estimated 60,000 Nepalese lose sight to cataracts in addition to the backlog of 200,000. There are a number of reasons for the high prevalence of blindness in Nepal but poverty is by far the most common cause. With 25% of the population living in rural areas and below the poverty line, access to medical care and education is limited. Though cataracts are the leading cause of blindness globally, they can be treated with a 10 minute surgery.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]HCP & Tilaganga- Changing Eye Care in Nepal
Program Name

Nepal
Location

1995
Start date

Geoffrey Tabin
Program Director

@CureBlindness[/su_pullquote]

HCP was founded to support the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, a tertiary eye center in Kathmandu, to provide high-quality, low cost eye care to anyone in need. Significant change required establishing a training center of excellence capable of increasing the number of patients treated and the number of ophthalmic personnel trained each year. An innovation in developing world cataract surgery, Dr. Ruit refined the manual sutureless small incision cataract surgery technique – making a smaller incision that required no stitches from the side of the eyeball instead of the top. He perfected a surgical service delivery model that can be implemented even in the most remote locations. Training ophthalmologists and eye care personnel in the MSICS provides the multiplier affect required to address blindness due to cataracts. With this, HCP has been tremendously effective in Nepal where the cataract surgical rate – the rate of surgeries per million – has increased to that of a developing world country. Now the eye care service delivery model is being replicated in other countries throughout Asia, Ghana and Ethiopia. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Geoffrey Tabin, Program Director” class=”top5″]The Himalayan Cataract Project was created to support Tilganga with this exact vision in mind — to develop a sustainable eye care system that can be replicated to eradicate treatable blindness anywhere in the world. If it can be done in Nepal, it can be done anywhere. [/su_quote]


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T1D Exchange
Unitio, Inc
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING 3 million Americans live with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) today. T1D is an enormously complex disease and stakeholders often don’t have the opportunity to connect in a meaningful way. The costs and length of time to bring new devices and therapies to market are very high, there are many risks/unknown factors that create barriers along the path to understanding the disease, developing new therapies and devices, improving patient outcomes, and ultimately cures.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]T1D Exchange
Program Name

United States
Location

2011
Start date

Dana Ball
Program Director

@T1DExchange[/su_pullquote]

T1D Exchange is a living laboratory filled with data, experiences, and people touched by type 1 diabetes. Through the development of a collaborative patient-centric model, the program has created an efficient end-to-end system that supports the process of discovery to delivery to patients, while also improving care. T1D created Glu, an online community of patients and caregivers that support, empower, and educate one another while participating directly in real-time research and analysis. The platform is designed to accelerate research and improve patient outcomes by amplifying the collective voice of those with type 1 diabetes and their caregivers, offering a real-world view of how patients actually manage their diabetes. To date, T1D Exchange has collected data on nearly 27,000 individuals, giving the program the ability to accelerate research programs and projects designed to understand the cause of T1D, the development of new therapies/devices, ultimately improving patient care and quality of life. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Dana Ball, Program Director” class=”top5″]After more than a decade of working as a funder of T1D projects and programs, I believe this is the right model to improve our chances to finally understand the cause of T1D and support the dedicated research efforts of all stakeholders. [/su_quote]
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MindCrowd
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Alzheimer’s disease is a socioeconomic epidemic. Today, there are more than 5 million Americans living with the disease. As the 6th leading cause of death, the disease cost the nation $200 billion in 2013, according to Alzheimer’s Association.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]MindCrowd
Program Name

Phoenix, Arizona
Location

2013
Start date

Dr. Matthew Huentelman
Program Director

@TGenMINDCROWD[/su_pullquote]

MindCrowd is a web-based scientific study of how our brain learns and remembers items of information. The goal of the program is to better understand these processes better – especially from the aspect of the genetic changes in the human blueprint (or genome) that may be linked to top brain performance. Since April of 2013, MindCrowd raised $150,000 to support the study and has had over 25,000 test takers. Take the test! Early results confirm various conclusions about brain performance, including factors relevant to age, education, and gender. Lastly, results show that first degree relatives of Alzheimer’s disease patients perform worse on the test on average – even at the earliest tested age of 18. According to MindCrowd, these results are significant new knowledge for science and the study of the brain. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Anonymous program participant” class=”top5″]Your work on MindCrowd has opened up a way for the entire Alzheimer’s disease family to participate in the research of the disease. Much of the work in Alzheimer’s is limited to clinical research and studies of the patients but by participating in MindCrowd the rest of the family can feel like they are helping make a difference in this fight too. [/su_quote]
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Unite for Sight’s Health Care Delivery Program
Unite for Sight
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Ghana has a population of 24 million people, and the majority of the population has significant barriers to care, including education, transportation, financial, and fear barriers. It is estimated that approximately 4.4% of the population is moderately to severely blind, 81% of the blind have preventable or treatable conditions, and 9% of the population has curable cataracts.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Unite for Sight’s Health Care Delivery Program
Program Name

Ghana
Location

2004
Start date

Jennifer Staple-Clark
Program Director

@uniteforsight[/su_pullquote]

Unite For Sight works within the existing infrastructure of health systems in Ghana to enable the local doctors to provide quality eye care to patients living in poverty. On a daily, year-round basis, teams of local doctors from partner clinics provide comprehensive eye care in remote rural villages, slums, and refugee camps. The doctors provide exams, diagnosis, glasses, and other treatment in the field. Patients requiring advanced ophthalmic care or surgery are transported to the local clinic. UFS provides funding to hire ophthalmic staff for outreaches, and funds medical expenses, including medication, glasses, and surgeries. In addition to empowering local eye doctors to develop and lead the initiatives, the program supports job creation. Prior to a partnership, each Ghanaian partner ophthalmologist provided approximately 500 cataract surgeries per year to patients at their clinic. After the Unite For Sight partnership, local surgeons have the capacity to perform 2,000 sight-restoring surgeries annually. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Jennifer Staple-Clark, Program Director” class=”top5″]We are fortunate to work with amazing local doctors who are reaching thousands of hard-to-reach patients every day, and we consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to support the phenomenal work of the local doctors. [/su_quote]
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The Health Experts

The Leadership Council is an honorary board comprised of a diverse group of experts that will collectively determine the winners of the CLASSY Awards in this cause sector. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector.

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Photo credit: Himalayan Cataract Project

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