Personal benefit or the common good? The answer might seem simple on the surface, but not so much so once it affects us personally. This dilemma was faced by Javier Lozano, a young Mexican engineer who, despite receiving lucrative job offers after his studies at the Sloan Business School at MIT, decided to return to his native country with a clear objective: to minimize the impact of diabetes, the leading cause of death in Mexico.
Lozano knew how to achieve this goal, and that was his most powerful incentive. “When one sees the impact that their work may have on the lives of thousands of people, there is no business, job or project in the US that may give the same satisfaction and motivation,” says Lozano. “The experience of studying at MIT and at Harvard has allowed me to radically change my way of thinking and has lead me to think about the talents and capabilities that we all have to help transform our country and our world,” adds the young innovator.
Although Lozano had never worked on health-related projects, after graduating as a physical engineer from the Technological Institute of Monterrey (Mexico), his studies at MIT allowed him to also attend classes at the Harvard School of Public Health. "There I began to get involved in highly innovative health and diabetes projects for organizations in Boston, Tanzania and South Africa," he says. This experience lead to long conversations with Julio Frenk, Dean at Harvard and former Mexican Health Secretary, and thus was born the idea of creating a network of centers of excellence in diabetes care for people with few resources.
With this aim in mind, he returned to Mexico and in December of 2010 he founded the Sugar Clinics (Clinicas de Azucar in Spanish), a management model of low-cost, comprehensive care clinics specialized in monitoring and treating the complications of diabetes.
These clinics seek to attract patients to prevent undiagnosed cases and facilitate access to a proper treatment at a reduced price. Given that over 80 percent of diabetes-related deaths occur in countries of low and middle income, according to WHO largely due to late or no diagnosis or inability to access treatment, a solution like this could save lives and improve the quality of life for thousands of people.