Your Details

Your job title:

Founder and Chief Scientist, PathCheck

Your organization name:

PathCheck Foundation

When was your organization founded?

March 2020

In what city, town, or region are you located?

Cambridge, MA, USA

In what city, town, or region is your organization headquartered?

Cambridge, MA, USA

In which countries does your organization currently operate?

  • Barbados
  • Cyprus
  • India
  • United States
About You

Why are you applying for The Elevate Prize?

The recognition by Elevate Challenge strengthens our initiatives and helps overcome barriers in pilots and adoption via credibility, brand awareness and financial management.  We have deployments in multiple jurisdictions and 3000+ professional volunteers on our platform. Elevate can convert this passion and movement into a larger impact. Specifically

  1. The Elevate Grant helps us generate matching donations. Elevate funding helps develop open-source software for health departments in dozens of countries for pandemic readiness. Funding also supports our 3,000 passionate volunteers in 30 countries. 

  2. Working with Elevate ecosystem helps government leaders and regional health IT companies gain confidence in our unique NoPeek privacy and our engagement tools.

  3. Elevate ecosystem helps us create education and outreach programs for government leaders as we explain the legal aspects of privacy, safety, and efficiency. We hope that many stakeholders we meet via Elevate will run workshops about the benefits and NoPeek and crowdsourcing.

  4. Getting expert technical support from Elevate mentors and other tech members will ensure higher quality delivery.

Tell us about YOU:

I am intrigued by the navigation apps, such as Waze, that show us traffic problems ahead and provide us personalized guidance by harnessing our GPS locations. Can we build ‘Waze for public health’ without creating a surveillance state?

Growing up in a modest family in a developing country, we were always at the mercy of inadequate public health infrastructure. But in a rapidly spreading crisis, the systems nearly collapsed. As citizens, we had to self-organize. 

More recently, I have led health innovation teams at Facebook and Apple. These companies use crowdsourcing lucratively but for very narrow purposes. 

Can we ethically use citizen data? I have spent the last decade at MIT in AI, digital health, and invented NoPeek privacy techniques

In March 2020, we created one of the first smartphone apps called SafePaths. That led to the creation of the PathCheck Foundation. In a matter of a year, we have 3000+ professional volunteers, dozens of deployments, millions of lives touched. We proudly serve vulnerable populations by maintaining anonymity and support using paper-based credentials without the need for a smartphone.

We cannot predict the next outbreak, but our team at PathCheck is ready with battle-tested response solutions.


Video Introduction

Pitch your organization.

Problem: Can we fill the gaps in public health knowledge by crowdsourcing data from citizens and provide personalized engagement to improve the pandemic response?  Planning without rich data or citizen engagement leads to inefficiencies, lives lost, and socio-economic costs. The unfortunate crisis in India in April-May 2021 is an example: it is impossible to coordinate in a top-down manner because health authorities cannot estimate (or nudge) the activities of millions of citizens, the resources they need, and the dynamic of the variant (symptom trajectories. impacted age groups).

Solution: A novel ‘NoPeek’ open-source computational privacy technique from MIT and PathCheck that captures crowdsourced health information, analyzes it for public and precision health, and engages users via personalized recommendations. Delivered via apps and dashboards. Please check for more details.


Business model: We help under-resourced regions by partnering with a local health-IT software company to deploy enterprise-grade solutions using our open-source toolkits, and make revenues from advisory services and revenue share. 

Vulnerable populations: Our innovations include cryptographically secure paper-based QR codes for populations without smartphones.  For those vary of overzealous law enforcement, privacy-preserving solutions to deliver services without the need to record raw sensitive personal information.


Describe what makes your work innovative.

1. Technology Innovation:

Crowdsourced citizen data can complement and connect incomplete and fragmented data that cripples pandemic responses. But, large-scale participation requires citizens’ trust and engagement. We use a unique “NoPeek” privacy and personalization delivered with a free, open-source toolkit that makes it easier for governments and large institutions to deploy.

Our strategy is similar to what some Asian countries used to combat the pandemic but we avoid invasive data gathering or coercive enforcement. Our NoPeek privacy solution is different from consent or pseudo-anonymity-based approaches. In NoPeek, now raw data from the user is shared. While most public health solutions try to create tools for PHAs and a top-down ‘command and control’ solution, we take a bottom-up approach. We solve the problems in technology, trust, and open innovation. We are inspired by Mozilla, one of the few large-scale privacy-focused consumer-facing open-source software projects.

2. Service Model Innovation:

Hybrid team: 3000 professional volunteers (with 300 active weekly) and team of dedicated employees

Enabling local health IT players (B2B): We have created a large network of local health software companies who scale our impact and bring new clients


How and why is your organization having an impact on humanity?

Our pandemic response plan creates a digital coordination tool. By focusing on NoPeek privacy that avoids any data centralization, we have made it easier for state and national governments to convince the citizens about the benefits of deploying the software without creating a ‘big brother’ system. 

Over time, if we create a global AI that has 

  1. bird’s eye view of the evolving epidemic in real-time (social activities, treatments/tests/outcomes) and 
  2. Have models of prior epidemics, we can support data-driven solutions for citizens, businesses, and governments. 

1. Year zero (last year), we built on relationships with governments and partners.

  • We delivered 7 live deployments at the state and national level and gained experience. 
  • As a B2B solution, we promoted adoption through our playbook and shared best practices.

2. Years 1-3 we will scale with local software partners and with network effects.  Credible validation evaluations of our pilot results are essential for building confidence with clients.

  • Scaling with local partners: Our pilots are ‘light house’ deployments on four continents, and those references will guide campus-specific implementation. 
  • Network Effect: We create a network effect by encouraging employers to suggest the app to their employees and staff

Select the key characteristics of the community your organization is impacting.

  • Elderly
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your organization address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 10. Reduced Inequality

Which of the following categories best describes your work?


Solution Team

  • Paul Baier President, PathCheck Foundation
  • Dr. Christin Glorioso MD PhD Founder and CEO, Academics for the Future of Science, Academics for the Future of Science
  • Albert Johnson PathCheck Foundation
  • Ramesh Raskar PhD Founder, PathCheck Foundation
  • Rohan Sukumaran Research Manager, PathCheck Foundation
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