Meet the MEng and MTM students behind the Digital Health Affinity Group
Affinity groups are a unique part of the Fung Institute ecosystem, where students come together and form communities based on their technical and career interests. With the support of the institute, groups typically host social events, career development programs, and speaker series. They are a space for students to collaborate, connect, and learn from each other in a supportive, peer-led environment.
This year, there are 14 unique affinity groups, with focuses ranging from consulting to robotics. Read on to learn more about the leaders of this year’s Digital Health Affinity Group.
The Digital Health Affinity Group, led by Stephen Grinich, Priyanshi Porwal, and Yu-Tao Tseng, focuses on healthcare technology topics and connects students with digital health industry experts for workshops, presentations, and career guidance. This semester, the group aims to be an environment where students can share and collaborate on digital health ideas and projects, and participate in hackathons and case study challenges. Right now, the group is planning an event where students can connect with recent graduates working in the digital health space to ask questions about job hunting and the MEng program.
We had the opportunity to talk to the group leaders about what inspired them to take on this leadership role, as well as their passion for — and experiences in — the field of digital health.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Priyanshi: I am an MEng student in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley. I completed my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi with academic and industrial research experience in diverse fields like computational fluid dynamics, data science, bioheat transfer, and mechanobiology and numerous awards in international innovation competitions under my belt. I am passionate about global health, and I intend to build a medical technology company focused on creating affordable and accessible healthcare solutions for the underprivileged segments of our society. I am an outdoors person and I love to hike, climb, run and bike. I am also into reading non-fiction, especially memoirs and biographies, during my free time.
Yu-Tao: After graduating from medical school in Taiwan and practicing clinical general medicine for a year, I am now an MEng student in Bioengineering at UC Berkeley seeking to advance my research ability for engineering and interdisciplinary collaboration. Seeing unmet clinical needs, I am enthusiastic about bridging biomedical research and clinical practice in order to benefit patients. I aim to become physician-scientist with entrepreneurship, adopting interdisciplinary approaches to defining real-world problems and developing solutions. I am a foodie and a coffee lover. Also, I love watching movies and sports games, traveling, and photography.
Stephen: I studied computer science during undergrad; since then I have been designing and developing telemedicine technology as a software engineer. After school, I entered the industry where I worked as a software engineer for a number of years and healthcare companies. Through my work in the industry building software for clinicians and patients, I discovered a passion for digital health innovation. I am now a student in the Master of Translational Medicine program (a joint program by UCSF and UC Berkeley) where I’m focusing on new applications of telehealth and digital therapeutics.
What are you looking forward to most this semester?
We look forward to forging strong relationships with the affinity group members, the alumni mentors, and the industry professionals that we plan to invite. We are also excited to create a space where students can share and collaborate on digital health ideas and projects.
What sparked your personal interest in digital health?
Priyanshi: I have always been interested in working at the intersection of core engineering and digital products making digital health the perfect space for me to be in. Moreover, the possibility of creating a direct impact on the health of people through your work also excites me. I am particularly interested in healthcare analytics and wearable technology.
Yu-Tao: I believe that digital health will be the “next big thing” in clinical practice, not only for patients but also for clinicians. With the advance in digital health, people could get access to clinical services more easily. In addition, with the assistance of technology, the quality of healthcare could be improved. The advance in digital health would potentially relieve the current healthcare burden worldwide and make our healthcare system more efficient and robust.
“I believe that digital health will be the “next big thing” in clinical practice, not only for patients but also for clinicians.”
Stephen: I discovered digital health as a way to apply my creativity and problem-solving skills to building products and applications that can have a tangible impact on someone’s life. It’s a really interesting area to be working in because the healthcare industry is so large (17% of US GDP) and has no shortage of complex problems to be solved. There is abundant opportunity for impactful and disruptive technology to improve health and quality of life at scale.