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Jacqueline Edwards

BA IDS 2007

Chief Operating Officer for Medic Mobil (Atlanta, Georgia)

Edwards-2

For graduate Jacqueline Edwards, her passion in international development focuses on global health, including access to care and health equity.

Since 2014, Edwards has worked as the chief operating officer for Medic Mobile, a technology and global health non-profit based in San Francisco, California.

Medic Mobile provides mobile and web tools to midwives, nurses and community health workers, specifically in East and West Africa and South Asia. Founded in 2010 by Josh Nesbit, Medic Mobile currently has a team of 68 workers.

Edwards says Medic Mobile has been able to fill “a gap in the health technology space where there were opportunities to harness the power of mobile infrastructure to connect very disconnected communities.”

As of 2016, over 11,000 health workers are using digital tools for daily tasks in 23 countries worldwide.

Through a partnership between Medic Mobile and non-profit Living Goods, Edwards says a network of communities in Uganda demonstrated a 25 per cent decrease in under-five childhood mortality rates.

The work with Medic is genuinely such a privilege to do. The work has, over the past four years, become more and more impactful

As the chief operating officer, Edwards says she manages and supports the regional teams in Nairobi, Kenya and Kathmandu, Nepal. Edwards works closely with regional directors to “design, build and deploy mobile technology” in those regions. She also oversees financial, administration and human resources work.

“The work with Medic is genuinely such a privilege to do,” says Edwards. “The work has, over the past four years, become more and more impactful.”

In addition to Medic Mobile, Edwards also worked with Mines Action CanadaSociety for All Round Development in IndiaRoyal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

While she was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Edwards grew up in Toronto, Ontario. However, she moved back in 2003 to attend Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College. After completing the Foundation Year Programme, Edwards focused on international development and contemporary studies.

“It was great,” says Edwards of her undergraduate experience.

For Edwards, the International Development Program provided her with an understanding of development history, theory and academic frameworks.

“I think it was a good overview degree,” says Edwards. “A very good interdisciplinary look into a lot of different stuff.”

I couldn’t have imagined this job because mobile health wasn’t a particularly active option.  What I do for work didn’t even exist as a discipline in development when I was studying development

In addition, she says the program allowed her to explore topics of interest, including gender, environmental health and global health. “It was a really nice way to bring together diverse interests and tie them into a degree that had more focus,” says Edwards. 

In 2007, Edwards earned her B.A. (Honours) in Contemporary Studies and International Development Studies. Two years later, Edwards graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Master of Science Degree in Health, Community and Development. 

Edwards says the space for innovation and social enterprises has grown since she graduated ten years ago, which has led to the creation of new opportunities in development.

“I couldn’t have imagined this job because mobile health wasn’t a particularly active option,” says Edwards. “What I do for work didn’t even exist as a discipline in development when I was studying development.”

“It’s an interesting example of the pace of change within this industry.”

Edwards advises students to remain open to the possibility of new tools and innovations within development. She also emphasizes the importance of developing technical and tangible skills to bring to the field.

“Having a general grounding in the discipline is incredibly important,” says Edwards. “But, then having technical expertise, so you can be contributing and growing over time is pretty key to making a meaningful contribution within a development workspace.” 

Having technical expertise, so you can be contributing and growing over time is pretty key to making a meaningful contribution within a development workspace