About SESH

Our mission

To design more creative, equitable, and effective health services using crowdsourcing contests.

The proposed solution

The SESH (Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health) project is a partnership joining individuals from the Southern Medical University Dermatology Hospital and the University of North Carolina-Project China. The main goal of this project is to create more creative, equitable, and effective health services using crowdsourcing contests and other social entrepreneurship tools. Crowdsourcing is the process of having a group solve a problem and then sharing that solution widely with the public.

Evidence supporting the solution

1.RCT Evidence: Two randomized controlled clinical trials (designing videos to promote HIV testing1 and condom use2) demonstrate that crowdsourcing approaches are effective and save money compared to social marketing approaches.12

2.WHO Policy: The WHO Hepatitis Testing Guidelines used crowdsourcing to solicit case studies.  Sixteen cases from the crowdsourcing contest were featured in the guidelines (see here). In addition, two World Health Organization regions recommend crowdsourcing as a public health tool for HIV implementation (see pages11 and 12 of Biregional Report).

3.Scale up: Our crowdsourced image from the sexual health image contest was so compelling that public health authorities in Guangdong Province bought the rights to the image and scaled it up among 121 clinics across the province.34

SESH Global Goals:

1.    Develop crowdsourcing tools, such as innovation contests, that can be used to improve health services.

2.    Build local multi-sectoral networks that resonate with and empower local people.

3.    Evaluate the impact of crowdsourcing contests to demonstrate effectiveness and equity.

Core Values:

We believe that all SESH implementers should hold the following core values:

1) Equity – Champion the equitable distribution of health services across populations

2) Common Vision – Have strong local partnerships with vision alignment and common goals

3)  Empowerment – Give agency to local individuals and community groups

4)  Networking– Provide a forum for horizontal collaboration and communication that escapes the traditional vertical organization of health service delivery

5)  Integrity – Establish partnerships and SOPs that have a strong ethical foundation (no money from tobacco or arms sales)

6)  Multi–sectoral – Creatively engage a broad range of local stakeholders (business, academia, medical/public health, arts)

7)  Innovation  – Challenge assumptions and develop multidimensional approaches with novel tools for promoting health

8)  Compassion – Promote compassionate care as a basis for health services

9)  Diversity – Promote inclusive partnerships and an anti-discrimination policy

10)  Open Access – Share innovation with others

11)  Social value – Deliver measurable social outcomes with value-added impact


1.    Tang W et al., Crowdsourcing HIV Test Promotion Videos: A Non-Inferiority Randomized Controlled Trial in China. 2016. Clinical Infectious Diseases. DOI:10.1093/cid/ciw171 62:1436-42. PMC4872295.  (See here)

2.    Tang W et al., Crowdsourcing health communication about condom use in men who have sex with men in China: a randomised controlled trial. 2016. Lancet. 388 Suppl 1: S73. PMID27968891. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32000-1

3.    Zhang Y et al. Creative Contributory Contests to Spur Innovation in Sexual Health: 2 Cases and a Guide for Implementation. 2015. Sex Transm Dis. 42(11):625-8 (See here)

4.    Zhang W, et al. Innovation contests to promote sexual health in china: a qualitative evaluation. 2017. BMC Public Health. 17(1):78. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-4006-9. PMC5237489. (See here)


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