submitted by Amanda Parsons

Science Magazine’s Insider Blog looks at how USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah brought together the world’s leading science minds this week during a 2-day conference to focus and highlight the ways innovation, science and technology can revitalize the development agency. Shah hopes science and technology can help the agency solve “grand challenges” in global development and used the workshop to pose broad questions about how USAID could identify, select, and implement these challenges. USAID had solicited input via a Web site for possible ideas like “a model toilet of the future for the poor.” About 60 people from academia, industry, and government have begun to whittle down the list and brainstorm about how to proceed.

On Monday, Secretary Clinton and Dr. Rajiv Shah gave remarks regarding the status of Haiti six months after a devastating earthquake ravaged the small nation. The AFP reports that the duo reconfirmed their commitment to reconstruction and development after the disaster. Secretary Clinton stated, “Six months later, our resolve to stand with the people of Haiti for the long term remains undiminished. We are committed to aligning our investments with the needs of the people and the government of Haiti.” Dr. Shah emphasized the idea of stricter construction codes and working with local partners to achieve a responsible and functional outcome.

The United States government has announced a $90 million contribution intended to aid in strengthening the health care system in Zambia. The program is referred to as the Zambia Integrated Systems Strengthening program and is implemented by USAID along with Zambia’s Ministry of Health. The fundamental areas of focus will be: maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition, family planning, reproductive health, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Working toward the Global Health Initiative’s objective of helping countries sustain their own health system, the program intends to train doctor’s, clinical officers and nurses so that they are able to provide sufficient health care.

President Obama’s national strategy for combating HIV and AIDS around the world was released Tuesday and the Associated Press reports that it is looking toward the success of the Bush-era international campaign against AIDS (PEPFAR) in its ability to set clear targets and ensure a variety of agencies and groups work together smoothly as the model for integrating America’s existing private, public, regional, state and local approaches to providing health care here at home. The list of agencies working on PEPFAR around the world includes USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development, among others who have been praised for their coordination. has outlined USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah’s achievements from earning his B.S in economics from the University of Michigan to his current position serving as the Administrator for USAID. The article discusses the non-profit organization Project IMPACT, that Shah co-founded then with his future wife, Shivam Mallick, then goes on to discuss his experience with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the World Health Organization and more.