Erica Layer is the CEO of D-Tree International, a global digital health organization dedicated to ensuring everyone has access to quality primary healthcare through integration of digital tools into community health systems. In this conversation, Erica shares how she found her way into the field of digital health, for reasons that had nothing to do with technology. She recounts how she was scared, inspired, and guided by Dr. Marc Mitchell, the founder of D-Tree who passed away two years ago. Finally, we trace Erica’s journey stepping into the role of CEO, and how she’s had to carve out her own style of leadership. Erica never imagined she would take on this role… but when the time came, everyone else in the room knew she was the right woman for the job.
Erica Layer is a public health professional with an MPH from Johns Hopkins and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. Erica has been recognized as an inspiring leader changing the face of global health innovation and is part of the World Health Organization roster of experts in digital health. She lived in South Africa and Tanzania for more than 10 years and is now based in Switzerland with her husband, 1 year old son, 2 dogs and 2 cats.
- D-Tree is a global digital health organization dedicated to ensuring everyone has access to quality primary healthcare through integration of digital tools into community health systems. Under Erica Layer’s watch, it has evolved from an organization that focused primarily on tools and technology to one that works directly with government to scale and institutionalize digital health systems.
- Marc Mitchell was the founder and President of D-Tree International for 15 years. Erica was Dr. Mitchell’s top choice for the role of CEO. After stepping down in 2018, Dr. Mitchell continued as Chairperson of D-Tree’s Board until he passed away in late 2019.
- DHIS2, OpenSRP, and the Community Health Toolkit are examples Erica provides of different open source digital health platforms that D-Tree implements.
- Jacaranda Health: Erica’s shoutout goes to Jacaranda Health, a Kenyan non-profit focused on healthcare delivery which has really embraced innovation, experimentation, research and data to deliver quality maternal healthcare and reduce maternal mortality.
- The Global Digital Health Network is a core community and resource that Erica highlights as “one of the best” ways to stay up to date with what’s going on in global digital health.
- How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is Erica’s recommended reading. It guides parents through the research in how to communicate effectively with toddlers – and, it turns out, is also a practical guide to many other forms of interpersonal and business communication.
- Erica’s liberal arts education and backstory is described in greater detail in this short biography.
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