November 13, 2020

Chat with Karen Clune

Editor's Note: This interview with Karen Clune, Senior Innovation Advisor, Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact at USAID was first published on the Duke CASE website.

The CASE Chats video series, produced by our colleagues at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, features the movers and shakers in the field of social entrepreneurship sharing their insights on tri-sector leadership, impact investing, social ventures, and more. The latest installment features Karen Clune, tthe Senior Innovation Advisor in the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact in the Bureau for Global Health at USAID.

You can watch the full CASE Chat here.  Takeaways from the chat include:

On challenges in global health:

“Many of our innovators will have immense skills in either the technicalities of their work or perhaps have an interesting business model but the technical aspects might not be that well along. We recognize that they need mentorship and support in scaling so we’ve been excited through the HESN Network to partner with Duke and the SEAD Program.”

On the role of social entrepreneurs:

“The element about social entrepreneurship that is important to what we do is that social entrepreneurs come with the business minded approaches. The idea of long term planning, really thinking about the implementation and the execution.”

On advice for students aspiring to work in global health:

“I would encourage students to go out in the field, get experience, see the problems first hand, talk with people. Find out what daily life is like, go and price things out, walk through someone’s shoes.”

About Karen Clune:

Karen Clune is the Senior Innovation Advisor in the Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact in the Bureau for Global Health at USAID. In that role, Karen provides technical assistance to support partnerships and innovation-related initiatives. Karen works in identifying and developing initiatives, partnerships, and/or activities that support innovations in global health, including those with a maternal and child health focus. In addition, she provides technical assistance to the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge by helping to plan subsequent global challenges in coordination with the partners and Savings Lives at Birth team members.

About USAID:

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) programs in global health represent the commitment and determination of the U.S. Government to prevent suffering, save lives, and create a brighter future for families in the developing world. USAID’s commitment to improving global health includes confronting global health challenges through improving the quality, availability, and use of essential health services. USAID’s objective is to improve global health, including child, maternal, and reproductive health, and reduce abortion and disease, especially HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Learn more about USAID here.

You can meet Karen and other key members of our network at our upcoming Annual Forum, this April 4th and 5th in Washington, D.C. For more information about this invitation-only event, contact Jenny Cook at  She will also be attending the public networking reception at the 2016 Duke Symposium on Scaling Innovations in Global Health here in Durham, NC on April 1st. To learn more and register, go to: