Change is a group at the University of Washington exploring how technology
can improve the lives of underserved populations in low-income regions.

Current Research Lighting Talks

March 2nd, 2015 by Trevor Perrier

What:  Research Lightning Talks

When: Tuesday, March 3 at 12pm

Where: The Allen Center, CSE 203

Please join us this week for the last Change Seminar of the quarter.  This week we will be having lighting talks from CS and iSchool grad students.  This is a great opportunity to learn about some of the current research going on at UW right now.

 Each lighting talk will be 8-10 min with some time for questions and answers while we switch speakers.
Lassana Magassa on Digital Literacy Level of the Incarcerated
Abstract: A proposal to validate a framework of digital literacy that includes a social behavioral dimension and an instrument designed to measure the digital literacy level of those incarcerated. Additionally, trying to uncover what being digital literate means for individuals leaving prison and returning to the community.
Bio: Lassana Magassa is a 6th year PhD candidate developing instruments to measure the digital literacy level of incarcerated people. He is in the Information School and is advised by Karine Nahon.
Trevor Perrier on USSD as a Patient Interface
Abstract: A proposal for extending two-way SMS messaging to an USSD based menu system. What would such a system look like, how could it be used, would it provide a net benefit to justify the costs.
Bio: Trevor Perrier is a 3rd year PhD student working with SMS for data reporting and health literacy.  He is in the Computer Science and Engineering department and advised by Richard Anderson.

Raza Khan on Behavioral Modeling for Churn Prediction in Developing Countries
Abstract: This presentation is going to describe our work on churn prediction on data from a Telecom Operator of South Asia. A key highlight of our work is the identification of some unexpected features of customer attrition.
Bio: Muhammad Raza Khan is a 2nd year PhD student in the Information School, University of Washington working under Dr. Joshua Blumenstock. Raza has been working on different big data projects related to product adoption and churn.

Philip Reed on Patterns of mobile phone use based on gender and work status.
Abstract: In this work, in collaboration with Raza Rehman, we are examining patterns of mobile phone use between men and women, further subdivided into women who work outside the home and those who do not. We aim to help disentangle conflicting claims in the literature about whether differential access to ICT is primarily a reflection of general socio-cultural marginalization or whether it has other stronger roots.
Bio: Philip J. Reed is a 3rd year PhD student in the Information School. Within the field of ICTD, he studies the effects of access to technology on people’s job and career aspirations. His adviser is Ricardo Gomez.

Samia Razaq – Maternal and Child Health Projects in Pakistan

February 16th, 2015 by Trevor Perrier

What:  Samia Razaq – Maternal and Child Health Projects in Pakistan

When: Tuesday, Feb 17 at 12pm

Where: The Allen Center, CSE 203

Please join us this week for Change.  Smaia Razaq from ITU-Punjab will be presenting information needs surrounding maternal health awareness in Pakistan.


Pakistan has the third highest maternal deaths in South Asia. Globally, more than 350,000 women die each year from preventable complications linked to pregnancy. Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is relatively higher in developing countries with a concentration in rural and underserved communities. In Pakistan around 30,000 women die each year due to the pre and postnatal complications.

In this talk Samia Razaq talks about three maternal health mHealth initiatives from ITU-Punjab to address these issues.  Projects include an SMS and IVR system to inform women about family planning, pre-maternal illness and general health, a digitized Android based IMCI protocol being deployed at Ganga Ram hospital, and work on digitizing immunization records.  All three projects help alleviate health information gaps among women, communities and health officials.

About the speaker:

Samia Razaq completed her Masters in Computer Sciences from the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) at LUMS. During her time at LUMS, she was part of the research lab, Neighborhood for Emerging World Technologists (NEWT). As part of her research work she worked in the area of ICTD and Language Technologies and worked on several collaborative projects with the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.

Currently, Samia is teaching the D-Lab course at ITU-Punjab, which is inspired from D-Lab MIT, where she hopes to relay her knowledge of 6 years of research in robotics and ICT4D to the students. She believes that a person can better impact the world, by building solutions and designing systems that facilitate the development of the world.

Krysta Yousoufian: Fair Trade Phone? Creating More Socially and Environmentally Responsible Electronic Devices

February 9th, 2015 by Trevor Perrier

What:  Krysta YousoufianFair Trade Phone? Creating More Socially and Environmentally Responsible Electronic Devices

When: Tuesday, Feb 10 at 12pm

Where: The Allen Center, CSE 203

Please join us for this week’s Change Seminar.  This week former UW student Krysta Yousoufian will be stopping by to talk about a side project she is passionate about: a fair trade smartphone.  Come learn more about the supply chain behind our ubiquitous devices and what we can do to make it more sustainable.

Please note, there will be a Change Seminar next week Feb 17.


Most of us love our smartphones and other gadgets, and we talk at length about their potential for global development. But there is a dark side to this proliferation of electronic devices: a host of social and environmental costs embedded throughout their lifecycle. How can we do better? At my workplace, a group of passionate employees has been looking at how we can create a more socially, environmentally responsible smartphone. Begun during a company-wide Hackathon and continued on our own time, our project aims to put these issues on the map, create a real alternative, and ultimately change the way the industry does business.

We want you to be part of the conversation. Join a discussion on questions such as: How do we address the most pressing social and environmental costs of our devices? How do we create a device that consumers can trust is “better,” and will they buy it? Are “do well” and “do good” even compatible?

This is an entirely a personal project on our own time. Although our project has benefited from company channels for encouraging innovation, we speak only on behalf of ourselves.

About the speaker:

Krysta Yousoufian is a UW CSE and Change alumna, receiving her BS and MS from the department in 2011 and 2012, respectively. As an undergrad, she worked with Richard Anderson and PATH on global health research. After graduating, she joined Microsoft as a software engineer looking at health from another angle: first on the HealthVault team and then on Microsoft Health. Krysta’s passion is for the development of fairer, more sustainable economies, expressed through side endeavors such as weekly volunteer customer service at Ten Thousand Villages, a nonprofit, fair-trade retail store. Krysta began her current electronics initiative as a natural integration of her personal and professional interests.

Nancy Puttkammer: Development of an Electronic Medical Record Based Alert for Risk of HIV Treatment Failure

January 26th, 2015 by Trevor Perrier

What: Nancy Puttkammer: Development of an Electronic Medical Record Based Alert for Risk of HIV Treatment Failure in a Low-Resource Setting

When: Tuesday, Jan 27 at 12pm

Where: The Allen Center, CSE 203

Please join us for this week’s Change Seminar.  This week Nancy Puttkammer, MPH, PhD will be talking about development of an alert to signal patients at risk of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) failure, within the iSanté electronic medical record system in Haiti.

Please note that this quarter we will be meeting every other Tuesday so the next meeting will not be until Tuesday Feb 10.


The scale up of electronic medical record (EMR) systems in resource-limited settings can help clinicians monitor patients’ adherence to HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) and identify patients at risk of future ART failure, allowing resources to be targeted to those most at risk. Our study involved the iSanté EMR in Haiti, a large-scale system implemented in more than 100 sites in Haiti. We identified a simple prediction model for ART failure based on ART adherence measures and other patient characteristics. The selected prediction model was used to generate a risk score, and its ability to differentiate ART failure risk was tested. This risk score could be used as the basis for an automated ART adherence alert within the iSanté EMR. Such an alert could help clinicians identify patients at high risk of ART failure so that they can be targeted with adherence support interventions, before ART failure occurs.


About the speaker:

Nancy Puttkammer, MPH, PhD is a health services researcher with a strong interest in strengthening health information systems in low resource settings. Dr. Puttkammer serves as a Research and Evaluation Advisor at the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) within the UW Department of Global Health. In this capacity, she oversees evaluation of projects in Haiti and Kenya for national scale-up of electronic medical records and laboratory information systems. Her research has involved use of patient-level data from electronic medical records at multiple levels, including data use by clinicians for improved patient management, data use by program managers to guide facility-level quality improvement strategies, and data use by policy makers to guide national planning and resource allocation. She has also participated in cost evaluation for health information systems. Dr. Puttkammer has worked within HIV care and treatment programs for more than 20 years in the US, Africa, and the Caribbean region.

Computer Science in the DPRK – Will Scott

January 12th, 2015 by Trevor Perrier

What:  Computer Science in the DPRK – Will Scott

When: Tuesday, Jan 13 at 12pm

Where: The Allen Center, CSE 203

Please join us for the first Change Seminar of winter quarter.  We are excited to have Will Scott from the networks lab in CSE come and talk about his experiences teaching computer science at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in the fall of 2013 and 2014.

Please note that this quarter we will be meeting every other Tuesday so the next meeting will not be until Tuesday January 27.


This talk will reflect on teaching Computer Science in Pyongyang over the last two years, and look at how technology has been integrated into civilian life in the DPRK. Remaining an extremely isolated country, many people would be surprised to hear that cellphones have become commonplace within the capitol, let alone that the country invests in custom hardware and software. I’ll talk through the current state of desktop and mobile technology in pyongyang, and what’s changing.

From redstar OS, a custom redhat-derived linux desktop and server environment, to the arirang cellphone and tablet, technology in the DPRK is different from what you are likely to see anywhere else in the world. Most systems are not widely available, and exist as much in rumor as reality. Partially from language barrier, and partially due to restrictive import, export, and communication policies, there are large gaps and large amounts of misinformation around most aspects of the country.

About the speaker:

Will Scott is graduate student in the networks lab in Computer Science and Engineering at UW.  He’s research focus on removing the limitations on information so the end user can have more control over their data and applications.  He has spent the last two falls teaching Computer Science, specifically Operating Systems and Databases, to undergraduates at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. In the course of life in Pyongyang, Will has been able to observe the growing prevalence of mobile technology, and get a first-hand look at the state of consumer technology in the country.