Our program doesn’t just take a woman, bring her into our program, and send her back home,” Zoughbie explained. “We ask her to bring her husband, her sister, her best friend who lives next door. And they come into the program as a cohesive social unit that was preexisting, that we didn’t create artificially.” The approach is bearing results: In one internal study, the micro-clinic’s intervention sustained patients’ blood sugar and weight reductions over a two-year period.

Underlying MCI’s proposition is a bigger idea regarding how we conceptualize and approach global health. “We’re so accustomed to thinking about health in an individualistic and medicalized way,” said Zoughbie. Too often, this leads to diagnoses and treatments that are provided in isolation of patients’ social context, and a tendency to address the biological rather than social determinants of disease. But MCI, he said, “sees the social context as part of both the problem and the solution.

2012 Social Innovation Fellow Daniel Zoughbie, founder of Microclinic International

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