As a third year student at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine I had to do some bargaining with the faculty in order to get to participate in the Innov8 for Health Business Concept Expo on April 20. I figured that with all the interest in what Sunnie & co. are doing, I should share a my experience and idea. So here's the essay I wrote my faculty to get an 'excused absence'. I sure am thankful for their willingness to be flexbile and let me pursue the great opportunity that the Innov8 for Health Expo turned out to be!
When I took a year off of medical school, one of the main goals was to help start an incubator for startup companies. I hoped that in the future I'd be able to take this concept of a business incubator and niche it towards the healthcare industry. That's exactly what Innov8 for Health (http://innov8forhealth.com) is doing. So, while I wasn't going to be able to do their summer-long business incubator program, I was glad to find out that there was a pitch competition where I'd be able to meet two dozen different people starting companies with ideas in the space - from an iphone app game that helped teach kids about diabetes, to a newly designed pill bottle for the blind, to a complete replacement for the CT as the standard of care in differentiating between hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, Ischiban http://www.ischiban.com/. I discovered many different up-and-coming technologies that I plan to use in my practice some day and hope to see other primary care providers using in the near future.
The innov8 conference forced me to clarify ideas I have had for a long time about how I might add value to the medical education system that I've been in for so long, which ultimately led to the idea formation of the AwesomeMed Academy. The AwesomeMed Academy would be the four year experience of medical school condensed to three months and would be offered to students getting ready to enter college thinking that they wanted to be pre-med.
I saw many students as a freshman in college that thought they wanted to be pre-med, but that quit after taking organic chemistry because they weren't very good at it, so they concluded that they wouldn't be 'good' at medicine. Others just didn't like the classes and so assumed that if they didn't like the pre-medicine curriculum that they wouldn't like being a medical student or doctor. After going through most of medical school, I have come to realize that your inclination for biology doesn't determine your interest in physiology or pathology. I personally am not that interested in biology, but am truly fascinated by what makes people sick. While things like chemistry and cell biology may be the building blocks upon which pharmacology or pathology are built, they aren't necessary to actually practice good medicine (or so it seems) and seem in many ways like overkill - like making an accountant prove mathematical theorems to determine whether or net he’s capable of and interested in putting together a company's balance sheet.
Students going through the AwesomeMed academy would either realize that the medical school experience isn't for them, and so would step away from the pre-med track before spending years of time and thousands of dollars, and they'd do it with a much better sense of what they were walking away from than if they quit because they were struggling in biology or didn't like organic chemistry. The ones that really enjoyed it, would then be motivated to slog through the parts of the premed curriculum that they didn't enjoy or weren't very good at, knowing that they were doing it for a long term goal that was the right choice for them.
Clarifying this idea and meeting the wonderful people that are involved in the healthcare & technology space in Cincinnati, was an invaluable experience - and it didn't hurt that I won the competition, and $5,000.