A couple of years ago (2007, I think) I was in the practice of watching google tech talks on my computer at lunch. One day I stumbled on a presentation titled OpenMRS, which seemed pretty relevant to my line of work. I watched it.
The project struck me as really cool and I have a lot of respect for the Regenstrief Institute (I’d worked with LOINC and the Unified Service Action Model). So I cruised over to openmrs.org. Within a few minutes I’d hopped on IRC and there was a user called doc_paul who greeted me nicely. I soon realized we shared a few of the same [unconventional] views about clinical systems. I asked a few questions about EAV modeling in OpenMRS and the derivation from RMRS. That was it. I subscribed to the dev list before I left.
I skimmed the dev messages for over a year and observed that the community wasn’t like other open source communities. These people were supportive, helpful, kind, and not driven by egos. I thought, this is something I would like to be a part of.
Late in 2008 I saw a posting from Andy about the Millennium Villages Project looking to hire a software engineer. I responded. After a brief discussion we found a couple of challenges (1) The funding could not be easily dispersed to a Canadian, and (2) I was already earning significantly more than his budget. We decided that maybe I could get involved on a part-time volunteer basis.
February 2009 I flew down to Portland, OR to meet him. We spent a day together talking about concept management and the needs of MVP. Concept management is one of my strengths. I felt it was a good match. I agreed to create a module in OpenMRS to meet some if their concept management needs.
April 2009 Andy invited me to a working group meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to discuss a OASIS-related project for Francophone West Africa. I think it helped that I speak French fluently. While in Abidjan we also attended the HELINA conference.
June 2009. I created a Spanish version of the MVP concept-dictionary for Joaquin Blaya.
July 2009. My wife had our second baby. Our life turned topsy-turvy. My free-time ceased to exists and work on MVP’s OpenMRS module was completely derailed.
October 2009 – I discovered that I worked with a friend of Gerry Douglas of Baobab Health, that he went to the same School of Computer Science that I did, and that he was coming to town for a visit. We made arrangements for him to present his PhD research in a Colloquium at the University. It was a fabulous presentation and a great visit.
September 2009 – February 2010. Andy and I kept in touch.
March 2010 – Andy contacted me about becoming a GSOC mentor and continuing the work I started last summer.
This brings me to the present.