Lisa Messersmith ’84 Among Finalists of Saving Lives at Birth Competition

Lisa Messersmith '84
Lisa Messersmith '84

In a pivotal effort to alleviate the poor health conditions of pregnant women, mothers, and infants in sub-Sahara Africa, the organization Saving Lives at Birth selected 53 finalists who presented ideas and solutions to this crisis. Among the finalists is Lisa Messersmith ’84, Associate Professor of Public Health at the Boston University Center for Global Health and Development.

Saving Lives at Birth issued a challenge amongst world health leaders for developing a solution to the detrimental state of health care in some of the most impoverished places in the world. Saving Lives at Birth is a global partnership of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Government of Norway, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and the U.K’s Department for International Development.


Messersmith proposed the “WiseMama” Zambia Project to improve availability and use of antiretroviral therapy, which improves the health and long-term survival of those afflicted with HIV. Through the use of technology along with interactive counseling, “WiseMama” Zambia will utilize these two sources as a compatible system for improving the adherence of antiretroviral therapy. The project will apply Wisepill to the women, which is a pill container that wirelessly monitors adherence and sends personalized text messages to patients when the doses are not taken on time. Along with messages to the patients, women’s support groups will also receive notifications as to provide follow up counseling. The goal of the “WiseMama” Zambia Project is to test whether applying this technology along with more intimate support services will improve antiretroviral therapy adherence in pregnant and postpartum women, as well as to assess the cost-effectiveness of this means of support.

Lisa Messersmith graduated from Hamilton in 1984 with a degree in creative writing. She then went on to receive her master’s degree from UCLA, a master’s degree in Public Health from John Hopkins University, and a doctorate from UCLA.

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