2012: Jane Cheng and Linus Liang

Infant in Embrace infant warmer

Jane Chen, 33, and Linus Liang, 31, are honored for their organization Embrace, which they co-founded in 2008. As part of a Stanford School of Design class titled "Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability," Chen and Liang were tasked with designing a low-cost infant incubator suitable for use in the developing world. Chen and Liang not only met the challenge for the class, but their infant warmer, which costs about one percent the cost of a traditional incubator and is designed specifically for the needs of resource constrained conditions, became the basis for Embrace. Embrace now distributes the infant warmer in India, China, Somalia, Zambia and Uganda, and has saved the lives of thousands of premature babies by safely regulating their body temperatures. Chen and Liang have combined their complementary skills — Chen with a background in business and nonprofit health care work and Liang with a background in computer science and technology startups — and have grown Embrace into a thriving organization dedicated to providing health care solutions to the world's most vulnerable populations (along with two other co-founders, Rahul Panicker and Nag Murty).

Embrace is dedicated to developing health care products tailored for the needs of low-income communities across the world. In addition to distributing its infant warmer, Embrace is now working to create additional products that address the problems of infant mortality and maternal health. Embrace has set the goal of impacting the lives of 1 million babies in the next five years. Beyond its innovative products, Embrace has adopted an innovative hybrid organizational structure — by combining a for-profit organization, Embrace Innovations, with the nonprofit Embrace, the organization hopes to be able to ensure its own sustainability, so it can create a platform for creating social impact that goes beyond a single product. Today, Embrace is also partnering with other health care providers in order to expand its impact.

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