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US-CAEF alum wins award for healthcare innovation in Italy

November 17, 2017
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WASHINGTON DC A US-CAEF alumnus accepted an award this week for a project that could revolutionize healthcare in Italy.

Ulukbek Abdubaliev, a 2015 fellow in the US-Central Asia Education Foundation Enterprise Student Fellowship Program, is part of the team that won the Smart Civis competition. The contest is hosted by the nonprofit, The Common Good, and is open to students at Italian universities. The Kyrgyzstan native entered while he was on an Erasmus exchange semester in Milan through his master's program.

There were about 100 other entries in the competition and Mr. Abdubaliev said it wasn't until they arrived at the awards ceremony that they believed their MI-Care health card concept had a chance.
"We knew that [our idea] was not something that was innovative," he said. "But at the same time it was something that Milan really needed."

The project, a chip-embedded, cloud-based health card, was not only named the overall winner, but Mr. Abdubaliev said his team has also been approached about producing the cards.
"We didn't expect that," he said. "We thought it was a usual project for students."

He and his team met with a possible partner in Washington D.C. this week, but he said they won't finalize the details of implementation until after he completes his master's studies in January. The MI-Care cards will give doctors and patients access to all health history and prescription information from the card, Mr. Abdubaliev explained. With patient releases, the cards could also be beneficial for health research.
"In Milan, everything is paper-based," he said of the current system.

Mr. Abdubaliev credits his US CAEF Fellowship with setting him on his current career path. The American University of Central Asia was his top choice for undergrad studies, but even with financial aid, he didn't think he could afford it. The US-CAEF Fellowship made his attendance possible.

"The whole experience, [and attending a] world-class university, helped me a lot in terms of who I am now and what I achieve," he said. "That's one of the things I'm thankful for and I think US-CAEF made me the person I am now."

Mr. Abdubaliev is currently working to complete a master's degree in strategic project management through an Erasmus scholarship, which allows him to study at three universities in three countries, including MIP Politecnico di Milano in Milan. After he finishes his degree, he plans to return to Milan to continue working on the implementation of his team's MI-Care project.

About the US-CAEF Education Foundation
The US-Central Asia Education Foundation Enterprise Student Fellowship Program (US-CAEF) is an academic scholarship program of the US-Central Asia Education Foundation and is administered by American Councils for International Education. US-CAEF provides funding for undergraduate study in business administration and economics through the Enterprise Student Fellowships.

Fellowships fund student enrollment at the American University of Central Asia and the Kazakhstan Institute of Management Economics and Strategic Research, which are leading Western-style institutions in the region. The fellowships are awarded to qualified students based on academic merit and financial need. Classroom experiences are enhanced through the Enterprise Regional Internship Program, which allows students to gain valuable work experience at local companies following their second year.

The foundation further strengthens the quality of business education through professional workshops for regional faculty to improve teaching skills, knowledge and course curricula.