duke alumni

For Duke biology alumna and medical resident Jennifer Farrell ’04, app development was an unexpected venture, but one that may help to save lives around the world.

While at Duke, Farrell was an on-campus volunteer emergency medical technician. She also participated in the Sanford School’s Hart Leadership Program, which allowed her to pursue her passion for medicine in South Africa. There she implemented a first aid curriculum in 15 schools and experienced her first taste of EMT work overseas.

Following on from this, in 2012 she went to Bangladesh and provided emergency medical response training to around 1,500 people. However, the lack of a 911-style system meant that volunteer first responders had no way of being connected to accidents. In an attempt to bridge this gap, Farrell launched the nonprofit CriticaLink.

The CriticaLink app utilizes location-based mobile networks to alert medical volunteers to nearby accidents. In Bangladesh, where an estimated 82 percent of accident victims die before they reach a hospital, Farrell’s CriticaLink can make the difference between life and death.

Winner of Bangladesh’s National App Award in 2015, CriticaLink has been widely recognized as having significant potential for global application. Based on the success of the pilot phase, which serves the capital city of Dhaka with 150 trained responders, Farrell’s goal is to create a lasting model that operates around the world and provides a life-saving service to those who need it most.

She wrote: “Perhaps I am an idealist, but I was lucky enough to be born in a time and place where I have had incredible opportunities to get an education and be free to pursue my interests, so I wake up every day doing the best I can to try to make the most of these gifts and try to use them to make a positive impact on the world.”