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Josh Nesbit On The Power Of Mobile Phones In Haiti
Photograph by Douglas Sonders

Josh Nesbit
CEO, Cofounder, Medic Mobile
Washington, D.C.

Nesbit, 24, uses mobile phones and open-source software to bridge gaps in health care in low-resource settings.

"AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE in Haiti, we had to use the technology that was in everyone's hands, the mobile phone, and the technology that would work with a very limited network, SMS. A small group of people inside State realized the importance of a simple and swift tech intervention, and they got the support we needed. We leveraged a network of 2,500 Creole-speaking volunteers to log, map, categorize, and translate 80,000 text messages in six weeks. The most common word was help. The second most common was please. Later, State included me on a delegation to Colombia. My lens was health care and mobile, which is pretty broad, so I was able to identify needs at the Justice Houses and land-mine-victim assistance."

A version of this article appeared in the May 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.