How would you raise awareness of Neglected Tropical Diseases?

NTDs affect about 1.4 billion people worldwide and include a number of different parasitic, bacterial and viral infections. They typically affect a group of people known as the “bottom billion” — those who live in extreme poverty — which has led to these infections being known as “neglected” diseases. Recent data shows that in addition to their prevalence in developing nations, NTDs also affect the poor living in wealthy nations, including the United States.

There is much that can be done to treat these conditions and give people a better quality of life, and we encourage students to become a part of the solution! We are working on a number of projects with the goal of making actionable policy changes that will increase the ability of countries to control, prevent and eliminate NTDs. 

If you want to get involved, make a difference and stay informed on our activities, sign up for our email list.

In 2015 we are hosting two student competitions to inspire students to become advocates and take action against NTDs. Read more details below about the Student Engagement Essay Competition and the Children's Outreach Concept Competition.

To help promote our student competitions at your school, download and print the flier.

This initiative is organized by the Center for Health and Biosciences at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and the END Fund, in partnership with the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. Support for this project was generously provided by the AbbVie Foundation and Burt and Deedee McMurtry.


Challenge 1

Student Engagement Essay


Sept. 18, 2015: The competition has ended, and the winners have been announced! Read their outstanding essays in the Baker Institute Blog:

Anjali Bhatla, junior, Rice University: Taking the “Neglect” out of “Neglected Tropical Diseases”

Elisabeth Kalomeris, sophomore, Rice University: Broadcasting change on college campuses

Keng Hou Mak, Ph.D. candidate, Baylor College of Medicine: Using visual media to raise awareness of NTDs

Juan Ulises Rojo, graduate student, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center: Using social media to raise awareness of NTDs


How can you, as a student, make a difference in the lives of those living with NTDs? Describe your ideas for new awareness campaigns or student initiatives in an essay. There is no limit to what you suggest, as long as it is feasible. We hope this competition will inspire you and others to become advocates and take action against NTDs. 

  • Essays should be 750–1,500 words.
  • Each entry must be written by a single author.
  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students registered at any college or university.
  • Prizes include $150 in Amazon gift cards. The winning and top finalist essays will be published on the Baker Institute website and compiled for distribution to the competition organizers

Questions? Email


Challenge 2

Children’s Outreach Concept

Sept. 18, 2015: The competition has ended! The winners are Jennifer Gia-Linh Nguyen and Emmy Sun, both at Western University in Ontario, Canada, for their essay on "Combating NTDs through Early Education, Detection and Prevention: An Interactive Activity for Sixth-Grade Children."


If you could create a children’s product that would teach kids about NTDs, what would it be? Examples include a book idea, play, educational material or a toy. Submit a concept for a product and include the age you are targeting. Your ideas could be made into real products used in outreach activities!

  • Concept papers should be 500-1,500 words.
  • Define your target age range.
  • Include supporting materials such as videos, digital posters, art or other visuals.
  • Students can work as individuals or teams (up to three students per team).
  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students registered at any college or university.
  • Prizes include $500 and the chance to attend the conference “The United States and Mexico: Sharing a Legacy of Neglected Tropical Diseases and Poverty,” to be held at the Baker Institute in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 29, 2015. The prize includes a stipend to cover travel and hotel accommodations as well as an invitation to the conference dinner.


Questions? Email


Resources and Information on NTDs