• An aggregator with a twist: links to breaking news, research, blogs, websites, reviews, videos. Curated for contextual relevance.

  • TrackerNews Index

  • Special TrackerNews Haiti Resources page

  • Twitter



TrackerNews.net is an aggregator with a twist. Its beat, broadly defined, covers health issues, humanitarian work and technology as it applies to both. Its mission is to improve awareness across disciplines and to bridge some of the “silos of expertise” that make it difficult to see the bigger pictureTrackerNews is about making it easier to see opportunities and develop relationships.
By design, headlines are not organized by topic, but are grouped together for relevance. For example, breaking news stories are paired with related research, websites, electronic books, book reviews and archived stories.

also has a Resources section, with links to organizations, news sources and blogs.


As a writer and producer, I have chased after wild horses on the Wyoming / Montana border, followed Kirelian bear dogs on the trail of grizzlies in Glacier National Park, and sat in forests by the Mississippi river with biologists tracking the spread of West Nile virus in the delicate, lighter-than-air bodies of migrating birds. I have traveled to Cuba to scout a segment on Old Havana, the oldest neighborhood in the Western hemisphere; and to Krakow, Poland to film an ancient salt mine full of salt sculptures for a series on “Invisible Places” – amazing underground wonders all over the world.

But of all the stories I have covered, a special report on invasive diseases written for BusinessWeek stands out above the rest. What began a small two-column story on the exotic pet trade ballooned into a tale of emerging and re-emerging plagues, ill-equipped labs, globalization and the intricate web of human and animal health. When the article received an award from the American Society for Microbiology, my contact list of “-ologists” with stories to tell ballooned as well. I became fascinated by the connections between micro and macro and began writing about everything from links between infectious diseases and mental illnesses (New Scientist), to more speculative pieces about infections and extinctions.

I have also covered energy issues. For another BusinessWeek story on distributed generation (a paradigm for generating electricity close to where it will be used rather than in large central power plants), I interviewed Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. That led to an invitation to a conference on refugee issues hosted by Lovins and Eric Rasmussen, a Navy doctor with an interest in technology for humanitarian work. When Rasmussen became CEO of InSTEDD, the idea for Tracker began to take root.

2 Responses

  1. Hi ya Janet,
    I got half a phone message from you over the holidays. I like where you are heading with TrackerNews. My research team has a silly, idealistic dream to provide “living maps” of all the bad guys (harmful invasive plants, animals, and diseases) to save money (in battling them), save the environment (being over-run with them), and save lives (humans –and the species with which we share the globe.
    We’re making progress — a Twitter or Google-Maps with a “data entry screen” would go a long way.
    — get in touch.

  2. Dear Janet,

    Kudos to TrackerNews for highlighting the crisis in mental health. The International Medical Corps team in Gaza today tells us that the requirement for mental health support is one of the highest health sector priorities.

    Having been associated with Somalia since the outbreak of violence in 1991, I was thus thrilled to see the video recording the small initiative in Mogadishu. Every step counts.

    To that end, I wanted to draw attention to the Interagency Standing Committee Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings which were published in 2007 in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. While they are referenced in the Lancet series, they can be downloaded directly from WHO’s Health Action in Crises website at http://www.who.int/hac/network/interagency/news/mental_health_guidelines/en/

    The product of more than two dozen agencies coming together, they are a major step forward for organizations like International Medical Corps who are providing care on the ground and for the communities we serve.

    Best wishes,
    -Stephen Tomlin

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