What do we mean by our tagline, “Shaping Healthy Futures”? This could mean many different things to different people. To me, this phrase gets to the heart of the work that we do – we try to have a positive impact on the health, education, and welfare of children, families, and communities as they grow, develop, and transform. We have this impact through health communications and social media, training and technical assistance (T/TA), and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).
Through health communications and social media, we are trying to influence people’s behavior to discontinue unhealthy behaviors and to adopt healthier behaviors. We are trying to prevent infections, addictions, and other disorders. Through T/TA, we are educating and assisting professionals to adopt best practices in prevention and treatment programs. Through M&E, we are helping programs to improve their performance so that they can better serve children and families, resulting in healthier outcomes.
When I founded Danya International 15 years ago, our first contract was a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project for $100,000 to develop an online drug and alcohol screening assessment that we called DAPA. Although we were not able to commercialize the product, we still maintain it online at www.dapaonline.com, and it is a model for online assessment (we were ahead of our time…). This past month, 15 years later, we were awarded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Behavioral Health Services, Information, Referral, Public Engagement and Communications Platform contract for the next 5 years. This major national contract builds on our experience with SBIRs, National Prevention Information Network (NPIN), Clinical Preceptorship Program, and many of our other projects, and it will give us the opportunity to have a real social impact on reducing drug use and addiction, as well as promoting mental health education across the country. This contract will allow us to shape healthy futures in a major way.
Our latest venture in shaping healthy futures in East Africa, expanding on our work in HIV and other infection prevention, is in promoting food security through both communications and M&E. This work involves assisting farmers to improve their productivity and business capabilities to provide stable and healthy food resources for the people in their countries, as well as develop viable healthy economic futures for themselves and their families.
So, what does “shaping healthy futures” mean to you? I encourage you to share your thoughts, stories, and ideas there on the blog and to have an exchange of ideas.
Chief Executive Officer