Grants:Project/Rapid/Mgonzalezmillan/Wikipedia Project for Offline Education in Medicine (POEM) Phase 2

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Project description[edit]

Wikipedia Project for Offline Education in Medicine (POEM) Phase 2
The Wikipedia Project for Offline Education in Medicine (POEM) seeks to get offline Wikipedia medical information to regions without connectivity. In the first phase, Columbia University students traveled to the Dominican Republic to assess the medical information needs and test the applicability of the Internet-in-a-Box in these settings; because of the enthusiasm found for the device, part of the team will return to start a pilot implementation in rural clinics in partnership with local universities and the government.
targetWikipedia medical, Spanish and Creole
start dateJune 11
start year2017
end dateJuly 22
end year2017
budget (local currency)$2000
budget (USD)2,000 USD
grant typeIndividual
grantee• [[User:mg3735(_AT_)|mg3735(_AT_)]]
contact(s)• Mgonzalezmillan/Wikipedia Project for Offline Education in Medicine (POEM) Phase 2

This is the continuation of the Wikipedia Project for Offline Education in Medicine (POEM) which has the goal of getting offline Wikipedia medical information to regions without internet access in Latin America and in under-represented languages. In March 2017, a group of students of the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) traveled to the Dominican Republic to conduct a medical needs assessment study and test the applicability of the Internet-in-a-Box in rural clinics. The team identified there is need for offline medical information and that practitioners are interested in the device as a tool for health practice, training for medical professionals, and communication with Creole-speaking patients. They suggested upgrades to the device, content updates, and potential implementation mechanisms. This video summarizes the research and the results.    

Because of the need and enthusiasm for the device, the team determined to start a pilot implementation in the Dominican Republic during the summer of 2017. In the pilot, the Internet-in-a-Box will be tested in the field to continue improving it and to develop the local ecosystem for its use and expansion. The team will solve any problems that arise, identify the best “business model”, and detect best practices for the implementation of offline technologies in developing settings.

The project will have the support of the Mount Sinai’s Global Health Division and its Wikipedia group as well as Wikipedia’s Afrocrowd. It also receives training and support from Lane Rasberry, the Wikipedian in Residence at Consumer Reports, who facilitates the publication of health and medical information on Wikipedia. In the Dominican Republic, it will be implemented in partnership with the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) and the Ministry of Public Health.

The project is seeking support from Wikimedia Foundation to acquire Internet-in-a-Box devices to implement among health practitioners in the Dominican Republic and for travel assistance.

Project Goal[edit]

  1. Add or improve content by expanding medical content in Spanish and Creole
  2. Recruit new editors by promoting local content-production
  3. Share Wikipedia content with health practitioners without internet connectivity

Project Plan[edit]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. Be sure to answer the following questions:

1. What content gaps will you be filling with the equipment?

The project seeks to improve and expand Wikipedia's medical information in Spanish and Creole and extend its use in areas with low or no connectivity.

2. What activities will you organize in the next 6 months to create content and use it on Wikimedia projects?

The research will be conducted by Maria Gonzalez Millan, a Mexican SIPA student who was chosen from a competitive field at the beginning of the spring semester. She has field experience in international settings and is a native Spanish speaker. She has an active Wikipedia account; has been engaged in surveying and evaluating the available Spanish content; and has edited a series of Wikipedia articles related to the project. She has also taken a two-hour training session with Lane Rasberry.    
Maria Gonzalez Millan will travel to the Dominican Republic for 6 weeks in June and July 2017 to implement the device among recent medical graduates deployed in 10 rural clinics. The activities will be carried out in collaboration with the Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), the Ministry of Public Health, and local doctors. These include: 
  1. Plan the pilot (adapt the device’s content; select the participating locations and clinics; meet with local partners; and establish the evaluation instruments and criteria)
  2. Train users
  3. Conduct an initial evaluation    
  4. Monitor the use of the devices
  5. Solve any obstacle in the field
  6. Conduct a final evaluation    
The research will include:
  1. Effectiveness of the device in terms of hardware, software, and usability as well as usefulness for health workers to inform future improvements
  2. Appropriateness of the content for health workers and communicating in Creole
  3. Potential business model regarding cost, channel of distribution, maintenance, content creation, updates, local partnerships, etc.
  4. Development of the local environment in terms of partnerships, content creation, supply chain, etc.
An extensive report will be written documenting and analyzing the process and the outcomes; recording their findings; and offering a set of recommendations to the Wikimedia Foundation and Internet-in-a-Box  about the device and its content; the most appropriate business model; and best practices for the implementation of offline technologies    

3. How will the equipment be shared/tracked/cared for by members of your community?

The devices will be tracked and maintained by the research team, who will train users to ensure proper use; keep a detailed log of each device’s user and location; and conduct periodic visits to monitor their use.    

4. How long will the equipment be used, and by whom?

The devices will be used during the 6 weeks by health practitioners in rural clinics without access to internet in the Dominican Republic. Afterwards, devices will be left for use by local partners if the conditions are deemed appropriate in terms of security and correct use. Follow-up monitoring will be done virtually or, if possible, by visiting the country. Efforts will be made so local partners can take ownership over the project and the devices and do some upkeep and monitoring themselves.

5. Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project?

The SIPA organizers are Glenn Denning, director of the MPA-DP program, and Kendal Stewart, manager of the MPA-DP program. The project will receive the academic guidance of Anne Nelson and the technical advice of Mariela Machado (SIPA 2016). It works in partnership with Dr. Ramona Sunderwirth from Mount Sinai, Lane Rasberry from Wikipedia, and Adam Holt from Internet-in-a-Box.    


How will you know if the project is successful and you've met your goals? Please include the following targets and feel free to add more:

  1. If stakeholders learn if the device is useful for health workers in low-connectivity settings and obtain information about the best way to scale it
  2. If the recommendations allows Internet-in-a-Box to improve the device in terms of hardware and content in Spanish and Creole for use in clinical settings without internet access    
  3. If the recommendations allow Wikipedia to achieve stronger partnerships to expand its medical content in Spanish and Creole and in-country content production    


What resources do you have? Include information on who is organizing the project, what they will do, and if you will receive support from anywhere else (in-kind donations or additional funding).

We have received funds from SIPA’s MPA-DP program, which will cover the team’s flights, meals, and in-country travel in the Dominican Republic as well as part of the accommodations. Additional funding is required to cover accommodation and to buy the Internet-in-a-Box devices.    

What resources do you need? For your funding request, list bullet points for each expense and include a total amount.

Funding request:
  • 10 Internet-in-a-Box devices (including hardware, content, and battery) at $130 each = $1,300
  • Shipping from the US (where content will be updated) to the Dominican Republic = $200
  • Accommodations in Airbnb= $500
  • TOTAL = $2,000


Community members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!

  • Support I have been impressed with this team's regular communication with Wikimedia New York City, various medical editors of Wikipedia content, the teams developing off-line Wikipedia, and with various external educational organizations including universities and government offices which have made commitments to engage in Wikimedia projects in the near future. It is hard for me to process all the outcomes which this project has already produced, including 5+ presentations to various departments at Columbia University and Mount Sinai Hospital. This group has established several partnerships over the last year which have proven to be ongoing a year later now, including collaborations with schools and clinics in Central America, nonprofit organizations around New York City, and various wiki teams. I like the outcomes this project has already had, and for this $2000 project, I think that they are likely to start more Wikipedia engagement and produce more narratives and reporting on it that match the goals of multiple groups of stakeholders. It is uncommon for me to see such dedication and work put into a project, and also for me to see so much documentation about what comes of it. I would like to see this project continue. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:40, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
  • This needs funding and I support this effort. Barbara (WVS) (talk) 18:01, 11 August 2017 (UTC)