Meet 3 Young Leaders Who Are Transforming the Health Industry
By Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation
Just a few weeks ago, the Clinton Foundation hosted its fifth annual Health Matters Activation Summit, where 450 of the top health industry leaders from around the United States advanced the national conversation on how to improve access to healthcare at the systemic level, with a focus on our communities. The Summit included discussions led by my father and Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala on topics ranging from how innovation can improve health outcomes, the quest for longevity amid rising U.S. death rates, as well as gender inclusion in sports as a tool for improving girls’ and women’s health. I sadly didn’t make the Summit as Jonas (the storm, not a person) caused every flight option to be cancelled!
Every year, at the Summit we bring people together who are invested in the health of others and their communities to discuss the data, science, and trends so we can identify how we do more. At this year’s Summit, many of our conversations included and highlighted young industry leaders who are playing a greater role than ever in the discussions and solutions, reflecting a larger trend that has us at the Clinton Foundation excited. Through the Foundation’s various initiatives — including the students who gather each year for Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) — we have seen, heard and supported young social entrepreneurs drive some of the social sector’s most promising efforts to reduce health disparities around the world.
I am inspired by the next generation of innovators who participated in the Health Matters Summit and are implementing their forward-looking ideas. I wish I had gotten to meet them all! Keep an eye out for these three, who are working hard to transform the health landscape as we know it.
Anya Pogharian: Disrupting How (and Where) Dialysis Care Is Delivered
What started as Anya’s high school science fair project has become a potentially life-changing invention for people with kidney disease. As a hospital volunteer, Anya noticed the prohibitive physical and financial costs of receiving blood dialysis treatment: Simply getting to the hospital posed a challenge for many patients. Setting out to make the experience less expensive and more efficient, the 18-year-old developed a portable dialysis machine for $500 — a far cry from the $30,000 machines that are standard in most hospitals — that can be used at home.
In addition to saving time on travel, Anya’s machine may shave hours off the actual procedure too. It usually takes four hours to filter 4 liters of blood. Testing conducted with the healthcare NGO Héma-Québec demonstrated that her prototype could reduce the process to a mere 25 minutes. Wow. I can’t wait to see how Anya continues to test and refine her product — and then bring it to people who need it around the world.
Sean Duffy: Addressing Chronic Disease Through Digital Therapeutics
Sean Duffy often thinks about the future of health. And through Omada Health, he’s trying to shape it.
Omada Health is a pioneer in a budding field of medicine that the company terms digital therapeutics. Whereas behavioral health interventions for preventable diseases have traditionally been given face to face, Sean’s company is leveraging digital technology to deliver these programs to patients’ homes. The program Prevent, for example, helps people reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes over the course of 16 weeks through resources such as a health coach, tools to monitor food intake, and support from peers around the clock — all offered digitally. The medical student-turned-CEO is working to create a world where people at risk for diabetes can turn to their tablets for a healthcare experience that is just as effective as a trip to the doctor.
Nate Gross: Creating New Opportunities for Entrepreneurship in Digital Health
At the forefront of the digital health movement is Nate Gross, who’s made it his mission to dismantle obstacles — particularly funding obstacles — to digital health start-ups. In 2011, Nate co-founded Rock Health, the first venture capital fund dedicated to digital health startups. He’s also an entrepreneur. In addition to his role in launching Rock Health, he is co-founder of Doximity, an online professional network for physicians in the United States.
These are just a few of the leaders who gathered at the Health Matters Annual Activation Summit to share their successes, failures, and what really works in health advancement. If you missed the conversations, watch videos of the panels here, and visit our website for more information on the Clinton Health Matters Initiative to learn how we’re working with our partners to help everyone live their best and healthiest life.
For even more examples of incredible young people, stay tuned April 1–3 as my father and I convene CGI U 2016 in the Bay Area. More than 1,000 college students from around the world will join us on the campus of UC-Berkeley to address some of the most pressing social, economic, and environmental concerns of their generation.