Piya Sorcar (Bus, Econ, Jour’01) has received a major award for her work on TeachAIDS, a nonprofit startup she founded out of Stanford, which has created new technology to address numerous persistent problems with HIV education around the world.
TeachAIDS founder, Piya Sorcar, Recognized by MIT Technology Review’s TR35 Listing of the World’s Top Young Innovators for 2011
Awarded on the same day TeachAIDS launches new software for millions in India
Palo Alto, CA – August 23, 2011 – TeachAIDS today announced that Dr. Piya Sorcar (Bus, Econ, Jour’01) has
been recognized by Technology Review magazine as a TR35 Honoree for 2011. The TR35
recognizes the world’s top innovators under the age of 35, spanning energy, medicine,
computing, communications, nanotechnology, and other emerging fields.
Sorcar has been honored for leading the creation of the TeachAIDS software and its innovative
use of technology in addressing many persistent problems associated with HIV prevention. She
was selected as a member of the TR35 class of 2011 by a panel of expert judges and the
editorial staff of Technology Review, who evaluated more than 300 nominations from around the
world. She will join other TR35 honorees in discussing their achievements at the emtech MIT
2011 conference, taking place at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge October 18-19, 2011. All of
the TR35 winners for 2011 will be featured the September/October issue of Technology Review
and online at www.technologyreview.com/tr35/.
“Technology innovation is key to driving growth and progress in the areas of research, medicine,
business and economics,” said Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of Technology
Review. “This year’s group of TR35 recipients is driving the next wave of transformative
technology and making an impact on the way we live, work and interact. We look forward to
profiling and working with these technology leaders each year, and watching their continued
advancement in their respective fields.”
Sorcar developed TeachAIDS as part of her graduate work at the Stanford University School of
Education. She discovered through her research that cultural barriers prevented many HIV
education materials from reaching those who need it most. Over hundreds of iterations, she
developed a new, culturally-sensitive approach in conjunction with a team of the world’s top
medical and education experts. The result was high-quality, research-based, interactive
software that taught about HIV and AIDS, with unprecedented levels of acceptance and
As of August, the TeachAIDS materials are being used in over 30 countries, including regions
where no other HIV-related educational materials were previously allowed. For example, in
India, traditional HIV education materials have been banned in multiple states for being explicit
and culturally inappropriate; TeachAIDS has overcome these obstacles.
Today, TeachAIDS is also pleased to announce that the newest round of HIV/AIDS prevention
software for India is being released and will be disseminated by the National AIDS Control
Organization of Andhra Pradesh (population ~84 million) throughout the school system in urban,
rural, and tribal areas. This freely-distributed software was created in the Telugu language,
featuring the voices and likeness of regional cultural icons and locally tested images.
“The new software will reach millions of students who would not otherwise receive
comprehensive HIV education,” said Sorcar. “Having our approach recognized for innovation by
Technology Review is a great honor and will help spread awareness of the software’s
availability and efficacy in even more regions.”
All TeachAIDS software is professionally developed at considerable investment, but then
distributed for free under a Creative Commons License. Extensive dissemination of the
materials is possible due to the flexible use of low cost production and distribution technologies.
This makes it accessible to people and organizations around the globe working with populations
most vulnerable to the devastating impact of AIDS. Interactive versions are available through
the Internet, to use online, download, or burn to DVD, while linear (non-interactive) versions are
available for video projection in areas without computers. All versions are compatible with a
range of mobile devices.
Dr. Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor and TeachAIDS advisor and board member, commented
that “the TeachAIDS software has comfort rates that are in Disney territory, which is remarkable
for a curriculum on such a sensitive topic. It is providing the best HIV education in the world, and
is accessible to those prevented from learning because of cultural taboos or costs.”
Additional information about past and present TR35 winners and judges is available at
www.technologyreview.com/tr35/. For more information about emtech MIT 2011 please visit:
TeachAIDS (http://TeachAIDS.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit startup that develops breakthrough
HIV/AIDS education software used in over 30 countries. In partnership with national and
international organizations, and incorporating the voices of cultural icons, TeachAIDS provides
the most effective HIV/AIDS prevention software to educators around the world – for free. Spun
out of Stanford University in 2009, TeachAIDS has received over $1 million in cash and in-kind
support from organizations including Google, Yahoo, Barclay’s Bank, Cambridge Associates,
Covington & Burling, Nimmagadda Foundation, and UNICEF.
About Technology Review, Inc.
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