Mediaspora: Connecting Medicine, Media, and Diaspora

How can we ensure that health information for women and other underserved populations is safe, accessible, and reliable? Join us as we explore interactions between medicine, media, and diaspora.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


August 22, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)


When people seek out medical advice, where do they turn? For many of us, the first step is to go online, diagnosing symptoms through websites, such as Google or Wikipedia. This information can be unreliable in the best circumstance — but among underserved populations, language barriers may narrow access to reliable information even further. 

Technology such as AI, machine learning, and lightning-fast 5G internet services create enormous potential to expand access to digital health information and services. How can health experts, policymakers, and communicators ensure that medical information is accessible, reliable, and trusted among the most vulnerable members of society?

Join us for an event focused on how diasporic and underserved populations obtain medical and health information and what it means for the future of digital health.  

There will also be an invitation-only Mediaspora Workshop, apply to attend. This event, part of the SciComm Studio series, is presented in partnership with HESAV (School of Health Sciences) in Lausanne and the Board of the Higher Education (DGES) of the Canton de Vaud.


6:00pm — doors open
6:30pm — presentations
7:30pm — q & a
8:00pm — networking
9:00pm — doors close


(Additional speakers TBA)

Patricia PerrenoudPatricia Perrenoud is a Swiss medical anthropologist and associate professor in the midwifery school of HESAV (School of Health Sciences) in Lausanne, part of the larger University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO). Since she was a young midwife, Patricia has been dedicated to fostering equitable access to adequate care for all, and particularly for immigrant women and infants. Her current anthropological study “Mi-TIC” explores the uses of information and communication technologies (ICT) by immigrant (expectant) mothers in French-speaking Switzerland in collaboration with Caroline Chautems and Christelle Kaech. In her research, Patricia Perrenoud seeks to collaborate with institutions dedicated to the care of immigrant women, such as PanMilar in Lausanne, the midwives’ Arcade in Geneva, or Camarada in Geneva. The “Mi-TIC” study examines the diversity of ICT practices of (expectant) immigrant mothers and reveal these mothers’ preferred tools to gather information about their pregnancy, birth, or the care of their infant.

Amin Azzam completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Rochester, medical school at the Medical College of Virginia, and psychiatry residency at the University of California, San Francisco Department of Psychiatry, then earning a masters’ degree in education at the University of California, Berkeley. Beginning in 2013, Dr. Azzam created the world’s first elective course for medical students to receive academic credit for improving health-related information on Wikipedia. By the start of 2018, Wikipedia-editing assignments were integrated into formal educational settings in 10 health professional schools, including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy, and public health, located in the United States, Israel, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. By fall 2018, 713 health professional students across 20 courses had added 406,000 words to 255 health-related Wikipedia pages, which have been viewed 10.2 million times since students improved them.

SciComm Studio

The SciComm Studio is swissnex San Francisco’s meetup for lovers of science seeking a community to experiment, explore, and connect around science communication and public engagement. Hosted at swissnex San Francisco at Pier 17, these meetups create a space for our community to cultivate science communication skills. We inspire and challenge participants excited by science to share their knowledge through storytelling and interactivity. It’s a win-win: exchange knowledge while developing your own toolkit for scientific outreach.

The Pier 17 Science Studio has support from the Exploratorium, Bay Area Science Festival, TED speakers, museum professionals and art-technology curators. The Science Studio “SciComm Studio” events take science communication out of the box and into the streets. If you find yourself involved in any area of scicomm, or if you are interested in being a part of the movement, join us for our next event!