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HandReach: Children's Healing Initiative

Newton, United StatesBeijing, China
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

HandReach works to provide world-class medical care and rehabilitation for children injured by trauma in the developing world. We seek to expand impact through telemedicine and systematic clinical exchange so that more children can gain access to much-needed care and return to productive lives.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if children injured by trauma anywhere in the world could gain access to the world's best healing practices?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The world's poorest children are at highest risk of the world's most expensive injuries -- burns and amputations. These sudden, life-changing injuries require a lifetime of support. The world has ample resources in the form of medical care, rehabilitation therapy, and psychosocial support for trauma survivors, but it is not getting to the children who need it most. Annually, China alone adds up to 1.6 mil new under-treated child burn survivors.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

HandReach strives to make the world’s best practices in pediatric burn and orthopedic care available to injured children in need. We facilitate free international clinics in developing countries, sponsor training, and develop technological resources to give access to clinicians in remote areas worldwide, maximizing ability to treat complex injuries and promote full rehabilitation for children. We use the "Starfish model" of integrated care, incorporating the five crucial fields of surgery, nursing, orthopedics,rehabilitation, and psychosocial care. We start at the acute phase and foster long-term rehab. We are planning to expand outreach for our educational video training pods to emergency responders through our international networks.


HandReach was distinguished as one of America’s Top 100 charities in the Chase Community Giving Competition. We were also presented with an "Unsung Heroes of Compassion" award by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2009.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

HandReach has been arranging life-saving medical and rehabilitative care for some of China's most catastrophically burn-injured children since 2006. We operate at three levels -- hosting children in need of surgery, prosthetics, and rehab, facilitating international clinical exchange to train personnel in world-class integrated methods, and developing capacity in third-world hospitals to greatly improve outcomes. For example, HandReach has provided surgery, prosthetics, and long-term rehab for children like MingHe, whose legs were burned off by an abusive neighbor, and TingTing, burned over the right half of her body by an exploding TV set when she was 2 months old. We'd like to extend this level of care to more injured kids worldwide.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

HandReach's international clinical trips have provided direct care for over 300 children and youth, and trained dozens of clinical personnel in methods that have impacted thousands of patients and counting. We have been directly involved in the life-saving long-term care of 24 of the most severely injured children and youth we have encountered, all of whom are now meeting developmental goals and doing well in school. We have established strong partner relationships with the China General Air Force Hospital in Beijing, the Firefighters Hospital in Changsha, and Xinan Hospital in Chongqing. HandReach was involved in the formation of the First International Trauma Congress in Beijing in 2011, and the response team for the tragic water park fire in Taiwan in summer 2015. HandReach has been invited to the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education & Research in Kolkata, India in 2016.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

HandReach's next steps are to expand systematic clinical trips worldwide and to work toward developing telemedicine partnerships and online training materials that can reach tens of thousands of clinicians improving outcomes for pediatric trauma patients. We are working to partner with major trauma units worldwide to activate the expertise of our clinical partners in the US -- at Shriners Hospitals, Harvard Medical School, the Jaycees Burn Center, Spaulding Rehab, etc. -- to bring targeted, integrated care to children from the moment of admission through discharge and beyond.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

HandReach has a large base of loyal, generous supporters. These relationships have been developed through many years of successful community outreach. In 2015, the Executive Director ended her professorship in order to dedicate her full time attention to HandReach and brought on board a part-time fundraiser. Individual, corporate, and foundation donors are now expected to increase with added events, grant proposals and outreach.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Though HandReach has worked collaboratively with similar charitable organizations such as AngelMoms, A Life a Time Foundation, and the 512 Children’s List, we have not found an American-based charity doing what we are doing internationally. HandReach stands apart when one considers the productivity generated on such a lean budget. The ground-level expertise HandReach has acquired in China has prepared us for the challenges of expansion to elsewhere in Asia, Latin America, & Africa. HandReach’s only hurdle is obtaining the funding to expand our organization and implement our projects.

Founding Story

HandReach was founded in 2002 by a group of grad students at the Univ of Maryland and became a 501c3 in 2004. HandReach began by offering microgrants to fund meaningful educational projects in China's poorest rural schools. In 2006, HandReach founder, Dr. Brecken Chinn, met a young girl with severe burn injuries begging for help on the streets of Beijing, and during the process of obtaining reconstructive care for (and adopting) the girl, Dr. Chinn encountered countless other children suffering from inadequate care. She then made a commitment to address the huge gaps in access to treatment that exist throughout the developing world for poor children debilitated by complex trauma injuries.


HandReach's management group is an international team of bilingual professionals with a wide range of expertise in communication, health care, international affairs, management, media, and public advocacy. Executive Director Dr. Brecken Chinn holds a Ph.D. in International Communication and a Masters in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is fluent in Chinese, with extensive experience working with some of the best pediatric burn units in the United States and China. Her adopted Chinese daughter, Zhou Lin, is the survivor of a severe burn to the lower 55% of her body, and Dr. Chinn has accompanied her on every step of the healing journey, from surgery to rehabilitation to psychological counseling. Vice Director Lingling Zhang is a Chinese national working on a Masters degree in Nonprofit Management who has extensive experience working internationally on accessible infrastructure systems in health care. HandReach's Board of Advisors is comprised of world-class pediatric burn specialists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Jaycees Burn Center at UNC Chapel Hill, and other specialists from around the country. Brecken Chinn, Ph.D. Executive Director; Stephen McIntosh, MA, MBA, Chief Financial Officer; Qi McIntosh, China Program Director; Dr. Li Li, DPT, MBA, Board Member; Jolene "Zhou Lin" Chinn Swartz, Board Member; Otha Day, BeatBrigade Director; Julie Joy, Fundraising/Outreach Coordinator; Julian Thake, Outreach; Laura Smith, Program Coordinator; George Goodwin, Research Coordinator Board of Directors: Lorna Hayward, Board President Li Li, Board Vice President Vanessa Vega, Board Secretary Stephen McIntosh, Board Treasurer Monica Pessina, Rehabilitation Committee Jessica Hagerman, Psychosocial Committee Geri McEachern, Nursing Committee Brock McConkey, Orthopedic Committee Board of Advisors: C. Scott Hultman, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.S. - UNC Chapel Hill J. Alan Chambers, M.D. - Mass General Hospital Robert Sheridan, M.D. - Shriners Hospital for Children Stephen Gardner, M.D. - Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital Robert Schneider, O.T.R./L, C.H.T. - Bethesda Hand Rehabilitation Suzanne Curley, O.T.R./L, C.H.T. - Mass General Hospital Gleeson Rebello, M.D. - Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital Li Li, C.P.T.- Northeastern University Lorna Hayward, EdD., MPH, C.P.T. - Northeastern University Ann Charrette, PT, DPT, MS, PCS - MCPHS Monica Pessina, Ph.D., MEd., OTR - Boston University, Massachusetts General Hospital Brock McConkey, C.P.O. - Shriners Orthopedic Hospital Jessie Hagerman, C.C.L.S., C.H.B.B - Director of Child Life, Baystate Medical Center
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

We envision further expanding our international collaborations worldwide. HandReach and Boehringer Ingelheim can exchange networking information, including targeting first response and emergency services internationally. Boehringer Ingelheim can share access to our telemedicine/video pods. It would also be mutually beneficial for Boehringer Ingelheim to supply sample antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral pharmaceuticals to prevent infections during the acute stage to medical facilities in developing nations. Our video pods address both acute treatment and long-term rehabilitation. HandReach's telemedicine team in the US will comprise clinicians from top hospitals and medical schools, and BI's involvement can be substantially highlighted.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Distribution Channels, Research and Development, Relationships/New Contacts, Manufacturing, Marketing/Communications Support, Human Resources, Legal Support, Technology Expertise, Public Policy Knowledge, Access to Capital.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

Distribution channels - hospital partnerships worldwide
Relationships/new contacts - introduction to others working to provide greater access to trauma care
Public Policy Knowledge - established presence in many nations
Research and Development - access to new and developing medicines for better outcomes
Manufacturing - access to medicines and materials helpful to hospitals
Legal Support - access to legal expertise in a range of nations
Access to Capital - funding support
Technology Expertise - potential access to telemedicine partnerships
Marketing/Communications - budget & networks

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context, Access to and established trust with customers/beneficiaries, Insights into pricing and financing of health products/services, Insights into marketing, Insights into distribution, Insights into behavior change.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Improving the affordability of healthcare (e.g., microinsurance, reducing the economic cost of care), Increasing physical access to healthcare to people with restricted mobility or restricted access (senior people, people with disability, remote or difficult areas, etc.), Holistic solutions that work across the entire care continuum (including education, prevention, detection, treatment, management, follow-up), Models that engage other industry players (e.g., nutrition, athletic, mobility organizations)., Remote care solutions for health management, treatment, and diagnosis, Packaging of health products and services to address needs currently unmet.

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together
Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea
How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?
Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?
What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?
Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.
What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?
Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?
How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?