When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to visit Africa with my family. While we were in Kenya, we visited a small village in the Masi Mara national reserve. In the village I saw a boy, younger than myself, with the pupil of his eye entirely white from a worm visibly living in it. Another boy in the village had a grossly expanded stomach - though was otherwise skinny enough that his ribs were individually visible - from another type of parasite. Each condition, I was told, could have been prevented with a few dollars of medicine.
Another afternoon during our trip, we were passing through the city of Mombassa, when our driver took the car right over a man lying in the street. His body went between the tires unharmed. The driver thought nothing of it. According to him, people who are sick from HIV sometimes sniff chemicals and lie in the street hoping to die.
The trip made a lasting impression on me.
Access to healthcare is something that has been on my mind since that time. When I was younger, I was a boy scout, and enjoyed being involved in the community. Shortly after that trip, I became a certified Emergency Medical Technician and volunteered on the local ambulance crew. I have written software nearly every day since I was 8 years old, and one day, after recovering from being HealthLake, the concept for this site just hit me and I began to build it out.
My goal is to improve the quality of life for a substantial percent of the population globally, and nearly all of the money I make from this site will ultimately go to charity. As access to computers and the internet becomes more widespread, even in remote locations in developing countries, through initiatives such as One Laptop Per Child, I want to make sure that there is an easy way to connect with healthcare providers where ever a person may find him or her self in life and on earth.
Initially, information for more than 15 thousand healthcare providers in over 100 countries including those listed by the various American Embassies is accessible in over 50 languages and on all mobile phones, and the site is able to support hundreds of millions of users.
There are many features under development that will improve the delivery of health care globally and that I will make available for free to places that would otherwise be unable to afford them.
I want this to be the first place anyone on earth turns when they need to connect with a healthcare provider, from a free clinic or traditional healer at a nearby village in Kenya to the best heart surgeon in a major metropolitan area like New York City.
It's an ambitious goal, and it can not be done without your support.
Please join the site, invite your family and friends, and if you are a journalist or blogger, write an article.