What do you currently do for work?
I’m currently working for a company called StartUp Health. StartUp Health is a global army of health transformers dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of everyone in the world. It is comprised of a global community 350+ Health Transformers from 165+ companies (and 17 countries) that share ideas and insight with each other and with us on a daily basis. Among other things, we provide entrepreneurs with long-term coaching, facilitate investor and customer access, and use our promotion engine to bring these companies further into the public eye. Entrepreneurs enter StartUp Health with their own ideas that are at various stages of development; we enable them to polish their stories and position themselves best to attract the team members, customers, and capital to scale their businesses and maximize their impact on the world. It is rewarding to learn from and support entrepreneurs dedicated to transforming this fragmented and stagnant healthcare system on a daily basis.
What brought you to the HI program at Weill Cornell?
I went to Boston College, where I was a biology major. I was always interested in medicine and life sciences. After my graduation, I began working in research at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) here in NYC. Medical school was always in my mind, but being in the laboratory shifted my goal. I started to think about the wider implications of biomedical research when I realized I did not know much about the healthcare system. Luckily, I heard about the MS tracks offered by the Department of Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Cornell. All the programs seemed really interesting. Ultimately, I chose the Health Informatics track. The program location and the class offering was ideal since I could complete it while still working full time. No other programs had such academic rigor with that time flexibility. It was just the perfect fit for me.
Were there any major differences between what you expected from the HI program and what you found?
One positive thing of that program was all the cross-pollination between my track and the one in Health Policy and Economics. That was a massive benefit because I did not only get an HI education, but I also got a great background in health policy and healthcare systems. In addition, the small class size was another benefit. I got to know all my classmates and learn from their background and we got a lot of access to the professors.
What did you most enjoy about the HI program?
I have an unusual answer to this. Starting the program I did not have a definite idea of what I wanted to do, whether I wanted to continue on a path to medical school or go into consulting. I knew I wanted to get away from academia. Through the program, I took a class at Cornell Tech on Human-Computer Interaction. That opened me up to the tech startup and the entrepreneurship world. The class taught me about information systems and exposed me to people trying to create these systems. Plus, I got to hang out with students from both research and industry. Being able to talk with all of them got me thinking about my career path. After taking that class, I became really interested in health technology and healthcare startups. Ultimately, applying the healthcare knowledge I received at Weill Cornell into the entrepreneurship world is where I have found myself going and where I see myself in the future.