Quinn Underwood

Country representing

Canada

Languages

English

Education

  • University of Toronto
  • Ongoing - Honours with High Distinction, B.Sc

Current organisation

ADVIN

Current role

Co-Founder and Director of Global Business Development

Skills and Expertise

Data analysis
Healthcare
Human rights
International relations
Social entrepreneurship

Areas of interest

Business
Health
Human Rights
Peace and Conflict
Sustainable Development

Website & Social Links

I am passionate about

Improving access to basic primary care has been a driving passion of mine for as long as I can remember. It is the idea that health is a human right, and that in-so-far as we are able, no individual deserves to be deprived of something as basic as primary care. Of all healthcare issues, inadequate access to basic primary care is one of the most neglected, yet also one of the most critical. The World Bank has predicted that 90% of all healthcare issues could be dealt with through basic primary care. And yet, here we are, with primary care constantly underfunded – why? Because primary care isn't flashy or techno-centric, and as a result is often relegated to a secondary focus, while secondary and tertiary care take precedent in spending and policy. Inadequate spending on primary care is particularly troubling in developing countries where poor health is a significant driver of economic risk and low productivity – and it poses a major barrier to improving the quality of life of millions. The development of new technologies and drugs have been of incredible benefit to the West, yet in developing countries many aspects of healthcare could be drastically improved by leveraging existing technologies and practices. I’ve worked shoulder-to-shoulder with primary healthcare providers in rural regions of Northern India, done research with physicians in remote regions of Myanmar, and listened to the stories of patients sitting in crowded health-screening facilities in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I’ve seen first-hand the importance of identifying and treating the ever-increasing chronic diseases that plague the Global South, before they render entire swaths of the population unable to support the education of their children, or the needs of their family. It is through having seen the magnitude of these health issues first-hand, and knowing that the ability to prevent them is well within our grasp, that motivates me to work towards making basic primary healthcare available to all.

Actions

I started Indian Umbrella when I was in 10th grade, after immigrating to Vancouver, Canada. The idea behind the organization is to empower youth across the country to be leaders and global citizens, working to help those in need in Canadian communities and Northern India. Recently, our most significant focus has been on providing schooling and access to primary healthcare for young girls and women. Over the past 5 years we’ve raised more than $50,000, and have helped more than 800 children a year get the education and healthcare they need. ADVIN is a social enterprise I co-founded in 2016, with two entrepreneurs from Bangladesh. The purpose of the company is to make primary healthcare accessible to all, particularly those in rural regions of Southeast Asia. We have provided health-screenings for more than 80,000 patients, and have just signed a deal with the Bangladeshi government to roll-out 1000 centres across the country to serve approximately 1.2 million households. Based on our work so far, we have found that in the regions where we have centres, we’re able to reduce the travel costs of individuals by up to 62%, and diagnose many non-communicable diseases that would otherwise go undiagnosed. Lastly, I have spent the last three years of my university career doing research in Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh, on the role of mobile health technology in the diagnosis and treatment of child malnutrition, and the role mobile technology can play in bringing social stability to long-term migrants and refugees. My focus on mobile technology has made youth in these regions a significant aspect of the research, as mobile technology is particularly prevalent amongst this population. With every research project I undertake, I aim not only to understand the problems at hand, but also to actively improve the health and wellbeing of those in my study. This I believe, is the role of the researcher: not merely to understand, but to take that understanding and apply it.