Dr. Richard Lester is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the WelTel International mHealth Society (WelTel NFP), Chief Scientific Officer of WelTel Incorporated, the Director of the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative (NGDI.ubc.ca) and an Assistant Professor in Global Health in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He completed his research fellowship in HIV in Kenya at the University of Manitoba and University of Nairobi collaborative, where he initiated development of an innovative mobile phone health (mHealth) service that was demonstrated in a landmark trial, WelTel Kenya1 (Lancet 2010), to improve HIV outcomes funded by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). WelTel NFP is the recipient of Grand Challenges Canada phase I & II awards for transitioning the mHealth service to scale in remote Kenya. In a form of reverse innovation, the WelTel service and model have been introduced into the Canadian and other healthcare systems. His program’s ‘research to action’ and patient self-management approach has been published in top-tier medical journals, including the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature, and has been featured in non-academic international and local media, such as CBC’s The National and The Economist. Dr. Lester continues to conduct studies internationally, in Africa, Canada, and the United States, has consulted on mHealth innovations with the World Health Organization for HIV, TB & tobacco control, and is a CIHR Foundation Scheme recipient and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar.
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