About Julia

Julia Royall has been working in international health in Africa since 1990 and has more than 40 years of professional experience in the communications field. She has focused her efforts on how access to medical information and the Internet can support improved health and how new technology solutions can assist remote and underserved communities in developing countries.

She was recruited to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 to create a malaria research communications network (MIMCom) supporting scientists in Africa as part of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria. The first network of its kind, MIMCom comprised 27 research sites in 14 African countries and engaged over 30 partner organizations and institutions in the US, UK, Europe, and Africa. Improvement of professional performance of African researchers and scientists due to Internet and medical literature access was extraordinary.

As Chief of NLM’s Office of International Programs, she created innovative programs that focused on Africa and comprised outreach to medical librarians, medical journal editors, researchers, medical students, and health workers at the village level. In addition to adapting NLM databases for use in Africa, her work has encompassed a variety of media – from web-based interactive digital tutorials to posters and video. To create these communication/education tools, she has brought together medical students, clinicians and community health workers, researchers, artists, and translators.

Under her leadership, NLM developed greater focus on global health by piloting demonstration projects that drew strength from one another and tied into NLM’s major programs and databases. To this end, she served on the NIH Global Health Working Group and the NIH mHealth Inter-Institute Interest Group devoted to research in the field of mobile health.

Prior to government service, she was Deputy Director of SatelLife, a nonprofit dedicated to satellite delivery of public health and medical information in developing countries. As part of the team setting up the first Internet connections for health in subSaharan Africa, she initiated and directed the HealthNet Information Service. HealthNet News, the first electronic health publication on the continent, was published weekly for 20 years and pioneered digital sharing of medical literature in medical schools of subSaharan Africa.

While at SatelLife, she developed partnerships with organizations, such as the World Health Organization, The New England Journal of Medicine, The British Medical Journal, and Harvard AIDS Institute; initiated the Library Partnership Program for developing countries to exchange medical information; and negotiated proposals to NEC Corporation of Japan, resulting in contributions totaling $1 million.

In 2007-8, she was Fulbright Scholar to Uganda, based in the Office of the Dean at Makerere University, and has since served as a Fulbright Specialist at Kenyatta University in the Office of the Vice Chancellor.

Retired from U.S. Government service, she currently serves as principal investigator for the African Digital Health Library (ADHL), funded by the Office of Global AIDS Coordinator/U.S. Department of State. Based at 5 universities across Africa, ADHL will showcase in-country research previously digitally inaccessible. She is also developing an African Student Innovation Fund with Carnegie Mellon University’s Africa campus in Kigali, Rwanda.

She has lectured widely in the US, UK, and Europe, published in Medline-indexed journals, and been honored for her contributions to global health.

For further information, contact Julia Royall at: julia.royall@gmail.com.

Langston Hughes poem: I Dream a World