Education Resource

Meet the Journalist: Rob Tinworth

For this project, documentary maker Rob Tinworth and PBS NewsHour correspondent Miles O'Brien report on the question of big data in the global health sector.

While filming in Guatemala, Tinworth met Crecencia, a mother of seven with late-stage cervical cancer. The price tag to treat her disease is almost $10,000 and, at best, it will buy only a few years of life. That money could instead fund a thousand pap smears—a cost-effective way of preventing cancer in the first place. Should doctors take Crecencia’s case on?

Case studies like this one explore deeply challenging questions, but now there’s a way to decide them: powerful computers that can crunch the numbers and determine which interventions will deliver the most bang for the buck. Tinworth and O'Brien's project, "The Life Equation," questions this method of deciding who lives and who dies: doctors on the frontlines or a mathematical formula?