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36 minutes | 12 days ago
Tech Tonics: Dr. Sally Shaywitz: Advancing Science, Driving Policy, Overcoming Dyslexia
Dr. Sally Shaywitz – Yes, she is David’s mom – has brought an entrepreneur’s mindset to her life’s work in dyslexia, recognizing the condition as a prevalent and underappreciated need, then working tirelessly to advance the science and enact the policy required to fully unlock the potential within so many brilliant individuals. Sally has helped a huge array of individuals access what she has famously termed their “sea of strengths”. The daughter of two immigrants who had escaped Eastern Europe at the turn of the century and arrived in America in search of a better life, Sally was born and grew up up in the Bronx, New York. The family wasn’t well-off: her father was a dressmaker, her mom, a homemaker. Yet she describes her childhood, with her parents and older sister, Irene, as “overflowing with love.” Sally attended college at the City College of New York (CCNY), and after initially contemplating a career in law, found herself drawn to medicine, and was accepted early into the medical school of her choice, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Tragically, the same year, Sally’s mom was afflicted with endometrial cancer, and despite what initially seemed like an encouraging prognosis, she grew progressively ill and ultimately passed away, a particularly devastating experience given the family’s especially close emotional bonds. While entering medical school with a heavy heart, Sally soon found she resonated with what she describes as the humanity and warmth of medicine; she was especially drawn to pediatrics, pursuing it herself and marrying a pediatrician, Bennett Shaywitz, she met the summer after her first year of medical school. While Sally was one of only four women in a class of 100, she generally found the men to be far friendlier; similarly, during her pediatrics training. When she wanted to organize her schedule so she could take time off to be with her first child, it was her female colleagues, she said, who resisted and rejected the idea. After completing her training in pediatrics and a fellowship in developmental pediatrics, Sally and her family – now with three children – moved to Dayton, OH, where her husband had been assigned by the Air Force to run a research center during the Vietnam War. Sally decided she wanted to focus on her children, and put her career on hold. She loved the experience, and wrote about it for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, focusing on the contrast between, as she describes it, what “enlightened women” were taught about motherhood and how, in her experience, it was so much more instinctive, positive and fulfilling. The family subsequently relocated to suburban Connecticut after Bennett accepted a position at Yale Medical School. Sally says she initially planned to be a stay-at-home mom, but found the available social environment intellectually deadening. She began to see patients out of her home – an experience she wrote up for Ms. Magazine – and was soon recruited by Yale to care for the learning disorder patients that apparently no one else was interested in seeing. The field was viewed at the time as a bit of a backwater (the starting point of so many entrepreneurial journeys!), but Sally found she really enjoyed taking care of patients with dyslexia, and was determined to drive their care forward. This mission would come to define Sally’s career (and soon, Bennett’s as well, as they began to work as a team), starting with a transformative longitudinal study (now in its 37th year, and counting!) that evolved into an extensive clinical research program. Their research revealed that dyslexia was surprisingly common – affecting about 20% of the population – and that it doesn’t spontaneously regress with age. Sally developed what’s now commonly called the “sea of strengths” model, which describes dyslexia as a localized deficit in the way language is processed, so reading takes longer. It is a problem often seen in children with tremendous strengths; thus, it becomes particularly important to evaluate dyslexics on what they do know – their reasoning ability, say – and not to mistakenly undervalue their potential simply because they are slow readers. Accommodations such as additional time for tests can prove transformative in allowing a dyslexic’s intrinsic ability to be revealed and meaningfully assessed. As a consequence of impact of this research, Sally and Bennett achieved exceptional academic success – both are endowed professors at Yale Medical School, elected members of the National Academy of Medicine, and have led many NIH grants and program projects. Yet – like many entrepreneurs — they were also determined to drive the science into palpable change, in this case for dyslexic students and their families. Together they co-founded the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity and have relentlessly focused not only on advancing the research, but also on ensuring the knowledge finds expression in public policy. They frequently testify before Congress and state legislatures, for example. In 2003, Sally summarized her learnings in her best-selling book, Overcoming Dyslexia; earlier this year, she released a completely-revised and updated second edition, which has been similarly well-received. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with it’s parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping its clients across all industries grow and prosper. Show Notes: “Catch-22 For Mothers” – by Sally Shaywitz, New York Times Sunday Magazine, March 4, 1973 Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (YCDC) “Success Stories” – profiles of exceptional dyslexics, from YCDC site “The Couple Who Helped Decode Dyslexia” by Katie Hafner, New York Times, September 21, 2018 “Test Early To Detect Dyslexia – Our Children Deserve Nothing Less” by Ruben Navarrette Jr., Washington Post Writer’s Group (syndicated column, October 2020). Overcoming Dyslexia, 2nd Edition (Knopf, 2020) About the Yale Dyslexia panel – 2015 – featuring Ari Emanuel, Diane Swonk, Brian Grazer, Toby Cosgrove, David Boies, with remarks by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and by Valerie Jarrett.
36 minutes | a month ago
Matthew Zachary – Making Noise and Making a Difference that is Music to Patient’s Ears
Matthew Zachary, CEO of Offscrip Media has had multiple careers despite the fact that he shouldn’t have had any. He had studied to be a concert pianist and composer and conductor through college, but at the age of 21, on his way to study in a USC graduate music program with Hans Zimmer, he was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer and told he had 6 months to live. That was in 1995. Matthew credits his uncle, a geneticist, with saving his life, serving as his medical “Sherpa” and helping him “having the chutzpah to challenge established treatment.” But his healthcare experience, and especially the 6 years it took to recover his immune system post-treatment, made clear to him that young patients weren’t getting the information they needed nor the support required to thrive after a medical crisis. Matthew had a thriving media career when a chance meeting of another recovered patient who had the same brain cancer led him to realize that there was a vast gap between patients’ need for knowledge and community and the system’s ability to deliver it. He founded Stupid Cancer in 2006 to help fill this gap, focused especially on helping young people who had survived cancer and were seeking to live out life as normally as possible. During the 12 years he led the organization, every health tech company focused on cancer knocked on Matthew’s door; it led him to the realization that entrepreneurs, by and large, just don’t understand how to build for or reach the right people to ensure their offering makes sense. Matthew has a special beef with how Silicon Valley thinks about healthcare, feeling that the culture leads to building the wrong things for the wrong people. And he further thinks that venture investors don’t care enough to invest in the right things most of the time. As such, Matthew is firm believer in the essential role of peer to peer care and the importance of life hacks, especially when the traditional delivery system doesn’t provide the answers. It is his view that for-profit companies can’t address cancer in an interesting way unless it stops being profit driven, though he recognizes the limitations of the not-for-profit sector as well. Join us for this fun show where we talk to Matthew about his long career in and around healthtech and media – he had the first healthcare-related radio show and interviewed 2000 people over 14 years. He was also the first speaker (and piano player) at the inaugural Health2.0 Conference. We talk to him about what it’s like to see healthtech having its moment, what led to the formation of Stupid Cancer and what it was like to turn the organization over to others, and his new initiative, OffScrip Media, which has reconnected him with his love of being behind the microphone and which is billed as, “a podcast that calls out all sorts of stupid BS in healthcare through raw conversations about advocacy, heroism, and the audacity of health.” We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with it’s parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping its clients across all industries grow and prosper. Show Notes: Matthew composed and plays Simplicity, his favorite of his own works.
39 minutes | a month ago
Tech Tonics: Kevin Lyman – From Halo to CEO
Kevin Lyman was once the world’s highest ranked Warlock in Worlds of Warcraft and a professional Halo2 player. But that wasn’t his original plan. In fact, growing up in New Jersey, Kevin always wanted to be a scientist, even before he was sure of what that meant. While a student at Renselaer Polytechnic, Kevin took a number of jobs, including toy designer at Hasbro, sensor designer on the Falcon rocket for SpaceX and on the Excel team at Microsoft. But it was his first full time job as an engineer at Enlitic in 2015 that made him realize he wanted to apply his scientific ingenuity to healthcare, a field that he views as one of the few where you can help do something that really helps people. Enlitic took a number oof twists and turns as it built its imaging analytics products, and when those roads came back together as a result of his leadership, Kevin became the CEO in 2018. Kevin talks about what it’s like to be an under-30 CEO, the good and the bad of AI, and how one effectively balances intuition with the logical model inherent in an AI-focused company. He also talks about his current creative outlet – drawing – a sample of which you can see in evidence behind him in his photo. We were delighted to have Kevin on the show. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with its parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping its clients across all industries grow and prosper.
38 minutes | 2 months ago
Tech Tonics: Diana Brainard – A Passion for Patients, A Talent for Leadership
Diana Brainard’s passion for understanding our stories and experiences initially led her to study comparative literature in college; but sometime during her junior year abroad in Lyon, she realized she could pursue her passion through medicine, a journey that’s taken her from academic infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital through her current role as Senior Vice President and head of virology at Gilead Sciences. Born in Chicago, Diana’s family moved to Brooklyn when she was one, then to the Connecticut suburbs when she was seven. A precocious student, she skipped an early grade, found she loved the Montesorri school she attended in New York, but grew bored once she started school in Connecticut. All this changed when she found her way to Hotchkiss Boarding School in 10th grade, and felt as if her mind was awakened – in large measure, she says, because of a number of exceptional teachers. A former tennis player, she picked up squash, and was subsequently recruited by colleges for her skill (and would later become an “academic all-Ivy selection” for her abilities as both student and athlete). Like so many other Tech Tonics guests – including Zak Kohane, Atul Butte, and Ken Mandl — Diana attended Brown, and enthusiastically dove into advanced classes in a range of subjects. The humanities, with its intimate seminars and engaged teachers, proved especially appealing, so she majored in comparative literature and late elected to spent her Junior Year abroad in France. Diana started to envision a future in graduate school, and then perhaps as a literature professor. To her surprise and disappointment, Diana’s experience in France left her disillusioned and she found herself drawn, through literature, into medicine. She was moved by Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, and by the poetry of Williams Carlos Williams, and soon she began a correspondence with Harvard physician and author Robert Coles. Diana ultimately applied to medical school, and attended Tulane, in New Orleans. Diana loved both the city and the medical school experience – in particular, the amount of responsibility students were afforded during the clinical rotations at the famed Charity Hospital. She found a similar sense of responsibility at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she continued her training, first in internal medicine (including a month taking care of patients at an understaffed clinic in Haiti), and ultimately specializing in infectious diseases. Diana’s interest in HIV in particular led her to noted physician-scientist Bruce Walker, under whose guidance she conducted complex translational research (studying HIV in mice she reconstituted with human immune cells). She also helped set up a HIV research facility at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Though initially contemplating a career in academic infectious diseases, and having earned a competitive K-08 NIH grant to support her efforts, she surprised many of her colleagues by deciding to join Merck, and focus on drug development. Almost immediately, it seems, she knew she made the right decision, as she found herself surrounded by smart and talented colleagues who, like her, seemed to enjoy functioning in a culture that prized collaboration and multidisciplinary team effort rather than personal recognition. Diana’s career surged ahead at Merck, and she soon found herself with an opportunity to join an exciting clinical development team that luminary John McHutchison was just starting to assemble at Gilead, in California; she took it. Good call; Diana would serve as the clinical lead for the breakthrough hepatitis C product, Sovaldi, was one of three people at the company to present it to the FDA. Sovaldi turned out to be as transformative as anticipated and Diana would go on to lead the development and subsequent approval of several additional hepatitis C products. In 2018, she was elevated to SVP of HIV and Emerging Viruses, and her remit was expanded to include hepatitis B and C, and retitled Virology. Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get busier, SARS-CoV-2 came along, and with it, her leadership of an explosive amount of clinical research around the Gilead product, remdesivir (Veklury). It’s been a busy year. Full-disclosure: Diana is also David Shaywitz’s wife – which is not only why we were able to book her, but also why we are especially delighted to welcome her to our show! We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with its parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping its clients across all industries grow and prosper.
34 minutes | 2 months ago
Tech Tonics: Geeta Nayyar, Executive Medical Director, Salesforce
Geeta Nayyar started off wanting to be a teacher, but then decided “science is the answer to everything” and became a doctor. Today she is the recently-appointed Executive Medical Director at Salesforce and gets to do both, which is her dream come to life. Geeta’s parents were both MDs and her two brothers are both in the healthcare field (and one is in medical school as a start to a 2nd career), so becoming a doctor was somewhat pre-ordained. She started her own medical training at the age of 17 and continued to fall in love with science, though soon encompassed healthcare IT into her definition of the field. While believing that “science is the answer to everything, even emotion,” Geeta decided to get an MBA after watching the business of healthcare fail patients who needed so much more than what was traditionally provided. While there, she observed the roll-out of the hospital’s first electronic medical record system and became enamored by the potential for technology to change medicine. This lead to becoming one of the first chief medical officers in a tech company, AT&T. But it was a role ahead of its time. Geeta went on to spend time at a startup, at a physician organization and at Greenway, the EMR company, and now has found her way back to a large tech company targeting healthcare: Salesforce. But this time, she feels like a real difference can be made, especially in light of the pandemic, noting that her parents, now in their 70s and still practicing physicians, are performing virtual visits. A recognized force of nature in health IT, we are so happy to welcome Geeta to the show. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with it’s parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping its clients across all industries grow and prosper.
45 minutes | 3 months ago
Tech Tonics: Dr. Ken Mandl – Forging Connection Through Technology
Ken Mandl has a gift for listening to other people, whether they’re mentors offering the advice that shaped his career in pediatrics and informatics at Boston’s Children Hospital and Harvard Medical School, or helping physicians and patients learn from each other by making it easier for them to share information. He’s a pioneering leader of a long-anticipated era whose time, it seems, has finally arrived. The son of a physicist and an English professor, Ken Mandl’s family settled in the Boston area when he was five and, except for a brief college detour to Providence, he’s been shoveling winter snow there ever since. A biology and psychology major at Brown, Ken expected to study child psychology but was drawn toward med school by a conspicuously intense premed roommate (who apparently hadn’t received the Brown memo…). Presumably recognizing the value of competitive peers in raising his game, Ken then matriculated at Harvard Medical School, arriving at a particularly auspicious time. He was a member of the first class of a bold new medical education program called “New Pathway,” featuring small-group learning led by luminaries such as (in Ken’s case) legendary surgeon-innovator Judah Folkman (see here). Ken’s training continued in pediatrics and emergency medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. While and ER doctor there, he appeared as a prosecution witness (for a tragic case of “shaken baby syndrome”) on one of the earliest Court TV cases, where he was cross-examined by noted defense attorney Barry Scheck. While Ken’s student research experience was in traditional molecular biology, he found himself drawn to an intriguing new program focused on clinical effectiveness. After receiving some particularly wise counsel from noted Harvard physician-scientist Howard Hiatt (who Ken describes as “a gentleman and a scholar”), Ken connected with Dr. Troy Brennan (now Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health), and embarked on a fascinating research project looking at the impact of maternal length-of-stay on obstetrics outcomes, which led to some intriguing (if initially controversial) publications. Ken then joined forces professionally with his friend (and previous Tech Tonics guest) Dr. Zak Kohane, who had recently founded a pioneering informatics program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Ken recognized an important opportunity at the intersection of technology, clinical medicine and population health. While initially struggling for funding given the novelty of the field – in fact, his grants would be critiqued simultaneously as proposing research that “can’t be done” and which “had already been done by the dot coms.” Nevertheless, his research soon gained traction and his career took off. Today, a Professor of Pediatrics and Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School, Ken directs the Computational Health Informatics Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is a founder of modern approaches to biosurveillance and is perhaps best known for his work and leadership driving the development of an “app store model for health IT innovation” SMART on FHIR – an initiative David described several years ago Forbesas “our last, best hope for interoperability.” We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with it’s parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping its clients across all industries grow and prosper. Show notes: David’s Astounding HealthTech column for Timmerman Report on the recent Duke real world evidence conference – “Closing medicine’s feedback gap: Can tech help integrate clinical care and clinical research?” David’s related 2019 commentary in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics – “A Drug Is not an Outcome: Extending Translation Through Implementation Using Real-World Data”
42 minutes | 3 months ago
Tech Tonics: John Groetelaars – Connecting MedTech to the Digital World
John Groetelaars learned to work with his hands on his family’s vegetable farm, but he realized early that he was more interested in using those hands to build motorcycles and mechanical devices. He followed his inclination first by helping manufacture engines and axles after earning his engineering degree through the GM Institute; he later transferred to the GM’s Chevy Lumina factory. The auto industry was very resistant to change, but John early on recognized the importance of designing for the customer and decided to broaden his skills earning his MBA at Columbia University. His first landing point post MBA – at Eli Lilly and then it’s Guidant spin-out—launched his medical device career and he has never looked back. Many of the Guidant alums from that time went on to become giants of the medical device industry and John is no exception. He had successful stints in the U.S. and globally at Ventrica, Bard and Boston Scientific before being named CEO of Hill-Rom, a public, Fortune 1000 medical device company that is navigating it’s way across the digital and data realm. The healthcare world has gone digital one segment at a time, with medical device companies holding up the end of the parade. Despite what looked like a traditional medtech career, John has pushed Hill Rom to step out in front of the band and right from the start, and set his sights toward re-defining the medical device giant as a connected health company. On the heels of Hill-Rom’s merger with Welch-Allyn and a string of digital health acquisitions, such as that ofVoalte, John is always seeking to find the right investment balance between the company’s medical device history and its digital future. In our discussion John discusses the importance of thinking beyond what’s always been done and the interesting new challenges faced by first-time CEOs, even those with significant management experience. As a leader with a remarkably gender-diverse management team and board of directors, he also discusses why he believes that meaningful commitment to diversity makes companies perform more effectively. We are delighted that John could join us on Tech Tonics! We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with it’s parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping its clients across all industries grow and prosper.
39 minutes | 4 months ago
Andrew Trister: From Jersey Boy to Digital Doc
With a knack for engineering and a passion for patients, Andrew Trister career has taken this Jersey boy from radiation oncology to Apple to his current role at the Gates Foundation, where he’s spearheading their efforts to leverage technology to improve the health of people around the world. Andrew – like E Street drummer Max Weinberg — grew up in the lovely North Jersey town of Maplewood, and like Weinberg’s, Andrew’s family was also originally from Eastern Europe and had left to escape persecution (though Weinberg’s family immigrated to the United States several generations earlier). Growing up, Andrew shared the complex experience of many children of immigrants; he says he felt “like an American” within the context of his family, where Romanian, not English, was the first language, but a bit like an outsider among his classmates and neighbors. Inspired by his father (who at one point had started to train as a doctor) and an uncle, who was an engineer, Andrew was drawn to this interface; his interest in becoming a doctor took on a greater sense of urgency following the tragic death of a young cousin from a devastating brain tumor. Always working at the intersection of disciplines, Andrew pursued both engineering and pre-med subjects in college at the University of Pennsylvania, and stayed at Penn for his MD/PhD. His graduate work encompassed both bioengineering and machine learning (presumably before at least one of those disciplines was cool….) He was increasingly gripped by the idea of using technology to improve patient care. He continued his training, in radiation oncology, at the University of Washington, where his career was profoundly impacted by relationships with two polymath, intellectually unfettered mentors: Dr. Mark Groudine and Dr. Stephen Friend. Working with Friend, who was at the time just putting together the open science platform known as Sage Bionetworks (David, incidentally, was a founding advisor of Sage), Andrew became increasingly interested in the possibilities of using wearables to better understand phenotypes, and to advance patient-centric health. Apple, it turned out, was also developing an interest in this space, and Andrew and Stephen would ultimately join Apple for several years to advance their health-focused initiatives. More recently, Andrew returned to Seattle for what seems like the perfect role for him: driving digital health technologies for the Gates Foundation – an effort that, as he discusses, has placed him squarely in the epicenter of a range of COVID-19-related efforts. It’s a challenge worthy of his exceptional talents. We are grateful to Andrew for joining us today on Tech Tonics! We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with its parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping clients across all industries grow and prosper.
36 minutes | 4 months ago
Tech Tonics: Jill Hagenkord’s Wild Ride
Growing up in a small town in Iowa, Jill Hagenkord never imagined herself as a doctor, or scientist, or entrepreneur – yet she became all three, blazing her own path and charting for herself a captivating personal and professional journey. Jill’s childhood was especially difficult; her parents divorced when she was ten, leaving Jill and her siblings struggling to get by, relying on subsidies for both goods and housing. She describes herself as a rebellious student who was secretly good at school, and says she went to college to pursue her interest in “cute boys and fun parties.” She attended the University of Iowa. At college, she worked 2-3 jobs, did really well, and “partied all the time.” Her ultimate career direction would be strongly influenced by a “terrible boyfriend” – a guy who, she said, constantly told her she “wasn’t smart enough to succeed in science classes or get into medical school.” It motivated her to prove him wrong, which she did, time and again, ultimately earning admission to the Stanford MD/PhD program. Jill moved to the Bay Area but lived in San Francisco, not Palo Alto, worked at a bar, and spent as little time in class as possible, while nevertheless mastering all the material. She dropped the PhD part of the training and pursued a residency in pathology at UCSF, but then got drawn into the startup world; while there, she served as a mouse pathologist at a buzzy startup that ultimately IPO’d. Jill initially returned to Iowa to finish her pathology residency, with the plan to settle down and become a “normal” pathologist there, but discovered that she missed the innovation culture she had known in California. So, off she went to University of Pittsburgh, to pursue not one, but two ultra-specialized fellowships (in molecular genetic pathology and pathology/oncology informatics), then returned to the Bay Area to serve in a series of Chief Medical Officer roles, including, most significantly, a role at 23andMe right after they received a highly-publicized warning letter from the FDA. With her help, the company got itself back into the Agency’s good graces; ultimately, Jill was able to sell her shares, and realize a significant return. After a brief period as a medical consultant in the health tech industry, Jill has just started at Optum as Chief Medical Officer of its new Genomics team. She is thinking about living in Iowa. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with its parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping clients across all industries grow and prosper.
39 minutes | 5 months ago
Tech Tonics: Arnaub Chatterjee – Making Healthcare Smart
Arnaub Chatterjee comes from a long line of physicians, and in his youth, assumed he’d follow the family tradition. At college at the University of Michigan, he pursued a well-traveled path towards medicine, graduating with a degree in cell and molecular biology. But then his heart wandered, and ultimately he found himself having a difficult conversation with his parents. Fortunately, he assures us, his younger sister eventually became a physician, much to his parents’ delight — and relief. Arnaub, meanwhile, pursued an interest at the intersection of the business and policy aspects of healthcare, working for an HMO one summer, a physicians group supporting a national healthcare plan the next, and at https://www.samhsa.gov/within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the summer after that, focused on mental health. He continued his training at Cornell, pursuing an intense dual degree program focused on health policy and healthcare administration – his fellow alums include previous Tech Tonics guest Nancy Schlichting, and also former Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini. Upon graduation, Arnaub pursued healthcare consulting at Deloitte, then left to work in the Obama administration. After initially working in a division focused on Medicare fraud, his life changed when he happened to hear a talk by legendary healthcare innovator and entrepreneur Todd Park. He soon joined Todd and the remarkable group that was around him working to change the way technology could impact health and health policy. Arnaub helped launch healthdata.gov, established the first cohort of the Innovation Fellows program within government and co-authored one of the seminal whitepapers on big data in healthcare with colleagues at McKinsey. Not only was the work interesting, he says, but the relationships he formed shaped the future trajectory of his career. Arnaub’s first post-government role was in health technology at Merck, where he had been recruited by former colleague (and previous Tech Tonics guest) Sachin Jain; Jain had recently left D.C. for Merck and invited Arnaub to join him. There, Arnaub focused on some of the earliest efforts to introduce real word data into Merck’s clincial evidence and data science strategy. Following his time at Merck, he then reconnected with colleagues at McKinsey where he continued to focus on R&D strategy and data science, serving both biopharma and the major technology companies who were entering the healthcare industry. After a McKinsey colleague, Sastry Chilukuri, left to pursue some of these concepts at Medidata – specifically, to develop Medidata’s data science entity, Acorn AI – Arnaub joined him. Today, he serves as the SVP of Product, where he oversees all strategy and go-to-market over products such as synthetic control arms, trial design, imaging analytics and the company’s work in the ‘omics space. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with its parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping clients across all industries grow and prosper.
33 minutes | 5 months ago
Tech Tonics: Making It Happen – Madeline Bell, CEO, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Madeline Bell is one of those people who decides what they want and does what it takes to make it happen. She grew up wanting to be a nurse, wanting to work with children and ultimately deciding she wanted to lead. She has achieved all three of these things and so much more. Today Madeline is one of America’s few female hospital CEO’s, leading Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the nation’s first hospital devoted exclusively to the care of children. She is one of the 13% of female CEOs in healthcare and she is committed to driving that number upwards, saying, “If we want the face of leadership to change, women have to make it happen.” Madeline always wanted to work in healthcare, though her original plan was to be a nurse. She got her first such role working in a nursing home at age 15 and realized that she wanted to invest her energy in children, where there was more hope for their future. She went to nursing school at Villanova and took her first full time nursing job at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1983, never knowing she would one day return to as its leader. After returning to school to study organizational dynamics, Madeline took her first hospital administration job at a very entrepreneurial system, Mainline Health, channeling her two entrepreneurial parents. She was ultimately lured back to CHoP as Chief Operating Officer and was elevated to CEO eight years later where she learned how different that job is, particularly when it comes to being the face of the brand. Madeline talks about how her transition to CEO was questioned both because she was a nurse and a woman, but ultimately her success has demonstrated why her background made her particularly effective in her role. She has developed a passion for encouraging other women to seek leadership roles and has her own blog called Heels of Success focused on this topic. She also hosts a podcast, Breaking Through with Madeline Bell, focused on the amazing innovatioons, such as Spark Therapeutics, that emanate from CHoP. While Madeline loves her work and her family, which includes 7 children (!), her real passion is the Philadelphia Eagles, having spent her entire life living in Pennsylvania. We loved having Madeline on Tech Tonics! We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with it’s parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping clients across all industries grow and prosper. Heels of Success (Madeline’s blog) Breaking Through with Madeline Bell (Madeline’s podcast)
43 minutes | 6 months ago
Tech Tonics: Patrick Hines – Helping People is in His DNA
Since March 23, 2020, Dr. Patrick Hines, physician, scientist and entrepreneur has spent most of his time between the Detroit Children’s Hospital and a nearby hotel room, where he stays to minimize COVID-19 risk to his family. He occasionally drops by to participate in movie night from a backyard chair while his wife and kids stay inside on the sofa. But Patrick is undaunted by this, saying that helping people is in his DNA. From very humble beginnings in North Carolina, Patrick watched his parents, both teachers, mentor poor rural kids at school and at home; it inspired in him the desire to give back. Patrick’s dad, a classically-trained baritone, accomplished singer, and choir director at the local college, was also his musical role model. Patrick made his way through college on a music scholarship, playing French horn and trumpet. But all the while, he was drawn to science. Having majored in chemistry at Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia, Patrick set off to get his PhD but soon realized that research wasn’t enough of a people profession to satisfy his desire to serve. So off he went to medical school at UNC Chapel Hill, where he had the good fortune to meet his clinical mentor and learn about the vastly undeserved clinical needs of people with sickle cell disease. Patrick, now a PhD and MD, ultimately trained to become a pediatric intensive care physician. He worked first at Children’s Hospital of Philadephia (CHoP) and later at Detroit Children’s Hospital, but he also founded Functional Fluidics, a company that focuses on red blood cell health generally and sickle cell anemia diagnostics specifically. The idea for the company came from his recognition that therapeutics to treat the condition kept failing clinical trials because there was no surrogate endpoint and that he could bring a solution to this problem and to patients who had so few treatment options. Patrick is now in the process of transitioning out of his regular ICU role to dedicate himself full-time to his young, growing company. Patrick speaks on the podcast about his difficulty raising money as a black founder and how these experiences were even more challenging than some of the prejudice he has faced as a black physician. Given our current discourse on race in America, it is an eye-opening first person account of how someone with significant intellect, experience, and education can come up against the limitations of others’ small thinking. But despite those that have told him his efforts were less than, Patrick has made it pretty clear that he is not giving up – he sees his work as a lifeline to people and intends to live out the helping gene passed on from his parents. Says Patrick, “It is my responsibility to be sure people with sickle cell matter and to get them the medical resources they need.” Patrick has also returned to music, singing publicly with his dad for the very first time last year. As an avid jazz enthusiast (see below for his favorite song) he is excited to be back around music. And he is especially glad to be leaving his pandemic-driven hotel stay and returning to his family for the everyday hugs, skirmishes and all of the things that were once annoying and are now a joy to experience. Welcome home Patrick and thanks for being on the show! We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics. Manatt Health integrates strategic business consulting, public policy acumen, legal excellence and deep analytics capabilities to better serve the complex needs of clients across America’s healthcare system. Together with it’s parent company, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, the firm’s multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping clients across all industries grow and prosper.
39 minutes | 7 months ago
Tech Tonics: Craig Lipset – Patient-Centric Before It Was Cool
As a boy, Craig Lipset thought he wanted to become a doctor – but over time, he came to appreciate that his real interest was, as he put it, engaging in the spirit of medicine at the population level – a pursuit that ultimately brought him to the forefront of digital health at Pfizer, establishing a capability long before most pharmas even recognized they needed it. Craig grew up in the distinct cultural milieu that is the North Shore of Long Island. A middle child with an interest in music and medicine, he attended Brandeis, where he majored in music, took pre-med classes, and worked for an EMS service in Waltham, MA. In 1992 he returned to New York, and obtained an MPH at Columbia, and discovered he loved thinking about populations, and wanted to learn more about the organizations helping to study them. After graduation in 1998, he considered consulting, but instead joined a contract research organization, Parexel and worked closely with Dr. Mark Goldberg, who would go on to become the President and COO. He eventually left Parexel to join a VC-backed company in Waltham that was ultimately acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb. At around this time, Craig’s life changed dramatically and unexpectedly when he was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis. He decided to make a life change, so he returned to the New York area and joined Pfizer in 2006, where he would stay for eleven years. Craig built their clinical innovation program from a footnote to a core business capability. Within a year of joining Pfizer, Craig began to apply his personal experience as an e-patient and was designing the industry’s first fully at-home decentralized clinical trial – the Pfizer REMOTE study. During his tenure, Pfizer — along with the rest of the industry –would increasingly begin to appreciate the value of digital and the opportunity for patient-centricity that Craig had been championing so passionately for years. Today, Craig serves as an independent adviser, sharing his experience, expertise, and learnings with biopharma companies, startups, and investors.
49 minutes | 7 months ago
Tech Tonics: Tele-behavioral Health – Breaking Down Barriers and Stigmas at a Time of Escalating Need
For 20 years, advocates of telemedicine have been trying to break through to common usage. For all of modern human history, those with mental health challenges have held back from seeking treatment due to the stigma associated with doing so. And then, a Chinese bat opened the flood gates. Today we are seeing record usage of telemedicine, especially for mental health needs of all types. Regular Tech Tonics listeners know our usual approach is in-depth personal interviews with individuals. Today, in light of current events, we decided to take a topical detour into how the coronavirus pandemic has driven vast advances in the use of telemedicine and has brought out into the open the importance of access to mental health treatment. The combination of these things into what we know now as tele-behavioral health, is our topic today. We invited three tele-behavioral health experts serving different populations to join the show and share with us what they are seeing in the new world order; those people are: Russell Glass, CEO of Ginger Margaret Laws, co-founder of Nod (and CEO of HopeLab) Steve Smith, CEO of NOCD Notably, all three of these organizations are experiencing skyrocketing use of their tele-behavioral health products and have seen some surprising customers enter their system. Interestingly, the pandemic has driven a stunning rise in telemedicine, but also a much greater openness to discussing and acting on the need for mental health care. Un-hampered by lack of reimbursement or physician/provider reluctance, these companies’ digital approaches are gaining in popularity in a way that may be persistent post-crisis. And not only are patients enjoying their experiences; they consistently report that access challenges have been markedly reduced as compared to the pre-pandemic era. Imagine that. Never has the need for mental health care been more acute. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that “More than four in ten adults overall (45%) feel that worry and stress related to coronavirus has had a negative impact on their mental health, up from 32% in early March.” If one needed more proof of the mental health crisis we are facing, prescriptions per week for antidepressants, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia drugs increased by 21% between February 16 and March 15, peaking the week of March 15 when the virus was deemed a pandemic. The largest increase was in anti-anxiety medications, according to the report, which rose by 34.1% over that month, in contrast to double digit drops in the use of some of these medications over the previous five years, according to this Fierce Healthcare article. We are grateful to our guests for their willingness to do the show and even more so for their commitment tackling the issues that are plaguing so many people today. Whether you are an adult, a child, a teen; whether you are someone with serious mental health issues or more common ones; whether you are alone, with your family, or in any other situation, know that there is help out there for you – you can access mental health services 24-hours a day by telemedicine by accessing these three companies and many others. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics—Manatt Health is a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that integrates a full-service law firm with a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help our clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system. Show Notes: Kaiser Family Foundation report on coronavirus impact on mental health Great Forbes article about Nod and how it can help during the pandemic Press Release about Free Access to Mental Health Coaching during the Pandemic https://abcnews.go.com/US/living-ocd-pandemic/story?id=70237405 List of available mental health resources during the pandemic crisis (not exhaustive and frequently updated) Lisa’s article on the dramatic rise in digital health as a result of the pandemic. David’s interview in Timmerman Report with his brother, Jonathan, a psychiatrist in L.A. who was an early adopter of telemedicine. Jonathan discusses his first-hand experiences adjusting to this technology.
37 minutes | 8 months ago
Tech Tonics: Toby Cosgrove – Resilient, Dyslexic Physician-Innovator
A brilliant and creative cardiac surgeon who went on to become the brilliant and creative CEO of the Cleveland Clinic for 14 years, Dr. Toby Cosgrove surprised many when he was invited back to his alma mater, Williams College, to give a convocation address. As his topic he picked: failure. In our latest episode of Tech Tonics, we learn more about Toby’s unusual journey, and why, in reflecting on his exceptional career, he chose to focus on such an improbable theme. Toby grew up in Watertown, N.Y., in a family that emphasized both academics and sports (all of them, it seems); he attended college at Williams, and told us his experience was “terrible.” He struggled to keep up with the large amounts of reading required, and only later learned that he had dyslexia, a circumscribed defect in “phonological processing,” often seen in the context of exceptional intellect and other talents – the so-called “Sea of Strengths” model. Toby’s described this experience as “terribly dispiriting,” adding “I thought I was dumb.” Toby persevered, attended medical school at University of Virginia (“the only acceptance out of 13 schools I applied to”), discovered he enjoyed it, and gravitated towards surgery in general, and cardiac surgery in particular. He completed two years of surgical training then served a year at a military hospital in Vietnam during the war, ultimately receiving a Bronze Star for his contributions. He then continued his training in cardiac surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was helpfully told he was the least talented individual in his residency group and advised not to pursue cardiac surgery – a recommendation he fortunately ignored. In short order, Toby emerged as an incredibly talented, soon legendary, cardiac surgeon, known for his creative solutions to patients with valvular disease. Toby says he embraced the mechanical ingenuity cardiac surgery required. Toby’s rapid ascent through the ranks of medicine culminated with his appointment as CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, where he focused on two areas that were in a sense at the opposite ends of the spectrum: careful measurement and transparent metrics, on the one hand, and a deep commitment to essential intangibles, like empathy, on the other. After fourteen years, Toby stepped down as CEO; today, among other responsibilities, he serves as an advisor to Google Cloud, and discusses with us his perspective on the role of digital and data in healthcare. We’re grateful our sponsor, Manatt Health—a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that includes a full service law firm and a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system. Show notes: Yale panel (with Toby, Ari Emanuel, and others) discussed here. Profile of Toby on Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity website New, updated edition of Overcoming Dyslexia, the best-selling book written by David’s mom, Sally, and his brother, Jonathan can be found here. Profile by Katie Hafner in The New York Times of David’s parents, Bennett and Sally, focused on their ongoing career research in dyslexia Essay on “Failure” written by Toby. Famous Cleveland Clinic “Empathy” video, an initiative launched by Toby.
34 minutes | 8 months ago
Tech Tonics: Torrie Fields, The Business of Making Better Memories
A childhood fraught with illness, loss and uncertainty drove Torrie Fields to an adulthood focused on making these experiences better for others. Torrie sincerely believes that we are all here for a reason and that her reason to is help people have more dignified, less painful experiences at the end of their lives. Having learned early in life that you could take nothing for granted and that you really need to show up when things are going in the right direction. Torrie has parlayed these guiding principles into an accelerated and notable career, culminating in the founding of Votive Health, which she views as a company in the business of making better memories – by that she means, “There is an intimate tie between how you die and how people remember you.” Votive Health is also a company focused on using data and people to help manage the care of patients with serious illnesses. The company, which is now launching, also works firsthand at the intersection of illness, insurance and employment, which is clearly a critical confluence at this currently challenging time of COVID-19. Notably, David and I recorded this show well before we knew what was coming on the plague front. This show seems particularly relevant now. Torrie’s early career you focused on emergency preparedness and epidemiology with a special focus on systems design. This skill set served her well through her time at McKinsey and then later, when she somewhat randomly applied for an actuarial program at Cambia Health Solutions, the parent of Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield and several other companies. The wonderfully kind and very community-minded CEO of Cambia, Mark Ganz, encouraged employees to seek a special project that was meaningful to them – ultimately this led Torrie to found and ultimately lead Cambia’s palliative care program. She later joined Blue Shield California to start a similar program. She later joined Blue Shield California to start a similar program. Torrie discusses the challenges at the intersection of palliative care, end of life vs. the traditional medical and insurance systems, where there are no standard definitions of palliative care, few appropriate payment models, bad program packaging and low prioritization. Given the current COVID-19 environment, perhaps we will see some changes in that. We loved having Torrie on the show, as despite what can be a dark topic, she is a perennial ray of sunshine. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring today’s episode of Tech Tonics—Manatt Health is a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that integrates a full-service law firm with a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help our clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system. Show Notes: A useful article about COVID-19-related advanced care planning from the Kaiser Family Foundation can be found HERE A prior post by Lisa on end of life is HERE.
38 minutes | 8 months ago
Tech Tonics: Laurie Zephyrin, MD: Public Health as Destiny
Dr. Laurie Zephyrin was disappointed to learn that a less-than-rock-star voice was going to stand in the way of her career as a singer, but fortunately she locked onto her healthcare destiny in her teens. A formative moment in high school set Laurie Zephyrin in the direction of public health and she has never looked back. This path has taken her through the White House, the Veterans’ Administration, into tiny villages in Africa and back to New York City. Through it all, Laurie is always seeking to drive towards a high-performing healthcare system, and especially one that effectively meet the needs of underserved populations. Laurie went to medical school and became an OB/Gyn, heavily influenced by Dr. Jack Geiger at CCNY, who was a leader in bringing the concept of community-based care and the importance of human rights and social determinants of health to the fore. She spent time after as a White House fellow, assigned to the Veterans Administration to assist with the medical impact of Hurricane Katrina, among other things. After a stint in community practice, Laurie returned to the VA as the first National Director of the Reproductive Health Program, where she had to undertake a major system redesign to transition a program designed to serve male soldiers to one that served all genders well. In 2016-2017, she became Acting Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care, and later Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care, managing a $13B budget in a system that was getting a lot of publicity, not always the good kind. Along the way Laurie became a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and then Aspen Institute Health Innovation Fellow (where she met Lisa). She also earned an M.B.A. and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University to augment her M.D. degree from the New York University School of Medicine. Laurie recently left government to broaden her impact on public health through her leadership role at the Commonwealth Fund, one of the first private foundations started by a woman in 1918. It’s a perfect match in many ways, given The Commonwealth Fund’s mission to promote a high-performing health care system and Laurie’s commitment to improving health for all, but especially women. Tech Tonics is sponsored by Manatt Health, a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that includes a full service law firm and a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system.
38 minutes | 9 months ago
Tech Tonics: Dr. Lynda Chin – Bringing AI to Medicine Through Infrastructure
Taking on challenges is nothing new for Dr. Lynda Chin. It started with learning English well enough in a couple of years to graduate valedictorian of her high school, evolved to a distinguished career as a physician-scientist and then full professor at Harvard & the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and ultimately led to her current role as founder and CEO of Apricity, seeking to bring digital technology to improve the care of oncology patients. Lynda Chin’s family emigrated to the United States from China when she was in high school. Through determination, and with the help of television (she cites “Starsky and Hutch” as her primary vocabulary inspiration), she taught herself English, graduated at the top of her class, and went to college at Brown University, where she created her own major – neuroscience – and conducted research involving echolocation in bats. Over time, she became interested in molecular biology, attended medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and continued her training in internal medicine and dermatology, while developing a research program on mouse models of cancer, which she was then recruited to Harvard to pursue. An unanticipated setback at the lab – a mouse hepatitis virus infection in the mouse facility wiped out her engineered mouse colony, putting much of her research program on hold– led her to focus on the emerging technology of transcriptome profiling at scale. She adapted it to engineered mouse tumors for cross-species comparison, and more broadly, to an expertise in translational oncology, which she pursued at both the Broad Institute and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. She was particularly proud of the work in building the genomic data analytic pipeline (Firehose) to enable not only access to but use of TCGA data by the broader community. She rapidly rose through the ranks to the level of full professor, and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine for her research contribution. Lynda ultimately decided she was ready for the next challenge: she joined MD Anderson Cancer Center with the idea of creating a forward-looking translation-centered department to develop technology and analytic infrastructure to enable Genomic Medicine. She was also interested in the promise of AI, and helped set up a collaboration with IBM Watson to explore its application in cancer. This project surfaced important hurdles for effective and responsible application of AI in the healthcare context. Lynda is now applying these lessons as CEO of Apricity, a digital medicine company seeking to leverage data and AI to close the gap between promising clinical trial outcomes and the often more disappointing results in real-world care. She is also championing the importance of pragmatic implementation of AI and other technologies in medicine, a focus of an upcoming conference she is leading in Boston (David is also on the organizing committee). Tech Tonics is sponsored by Manatt Health, a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that includes a full service law firm and a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system. Show notes: David’s recent Wall Street Journal review of Facebook: The Inside Story, by Steven Levy here. “AI and Big Data In Cancer: From Innovation To Impact” Conference, March 29-31 in Boston, more here.
45 minutes | 10 months ago
Tech Tonics: Seth Feuerstein – Behavioral Health Entrepreneur Before It Was Cool
Seth Feuerstein’s grandfather was a physician and his parents were both attorneys, so naturally his parents thought he would become…a comedian! While that didn’t come to be, he did end up as both a doctor and a lawyer who practiced neither discipline full time. Instead, Seth combined his skill sets to serially create new behavioral health companies that make a real difference. Always deeply influenced by following his grandfather, an old fashioned family doctor who went to patients’ homes on the lower east side of New York. Seth reports remembering how important understanding the family dynamic was and how understanding each person’s personal circumstances was essential to treating them effectively. He went to college at Cornell and followed that by enrolling in a joint medical school/law school program at NYU that was essentially a program of his own creation. In fact, being the pioneering co-creator of this joint degree program was not his first entrepreneurial experience – Seth had a custom t-shirt business and a baseball card business in his early years; the innovation gene ran deep. As an aspiring MD psychiatrist and a JD, Seth spent his early career working at the nexus of these fields – in forensics working for the medical examiner. When he got his your first full time medical job, as an internal medicine doctor in New Haven, he quickly figured out that he was not meant to be a full time doctor. He also realized he had a penchant for business that he leveraged into a Yale fellowship in new venture creation, working with the technology transfer office. He then joined the venture world and had a lucky first win with Histometrics, his first board and formal business experience. He was soon appointed CEO of Carigent a nano-particle delivery company, but that did not go as planned, in part due to the financial crisis and in part due to his own health crisis. As a doctor and a lawyer, Seth was misdiagnosed, mistreated, dealt with major healthcare system hassles, and did not have training he needed to engage with his kids about his diagnosis. He realized that there was great opportunity, as well, in engaging around the behavioral health needs of those undergoing care for serious and terminal conditions. But despite the death sentence that he had been given, Seth was eventually relieved to find that he would recover. He and his wife, Sharon, started a non-profit, Little Wonder, a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of patients suffering from cancer by providing them tickets to local concerts, family entertainment, live theater, and sporting events. But soon Seth was back to scratching the for-profit entrepreneurial itch, starting Cobalt Therapeutics in 2009, a digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) company that was before its time. Cobalt was acquired by Magellan Health fours later, and Seth became the company’s chief innovation officer. He remained there until he decided it was time, again, to start something new. Seth’s latest venture is Oui Therapeutics, a digital therapeutics company focused on treating suicidality. That company, Oui Therapeutics, is early stage but eager to address this horrific public health challenge. According to Seth, digital therapeutics will thrive as a sector because software can bring patients and clinicians together and refocus the relationship on the right things better handled between patient and computer. Essentially he sees software as a way to optimize the patient-clinician relationship, enabling the clinician to work at the top of their license and giving the patient the ability to engage in treatment on more flexible terms. We are grateful to Manatt Health for sponsoring TechTonics—Manatt Health is a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that integrates a full service law firm with a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help our clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system. You can donate to Little Wonder.org
45 minutes | 10 months ago
Tech Tonics: Sean Khozin, Attuned To Data Science
After escaping the revolution in Iran, Sean Khozin found his way to the United States, harmonizing his passion for patients and data into a career that’s led him into startups, the FDA, and most recently J&J, where he’s now Global Head of Data Strategy – all while pursuing his love of music. The phrase “it’s complicated” tends to be overused, but it hardly seems to do justice to Sean’s journey. Sean was born in Tehran, a son sandwiched between two daughters. Life for Sean’s family changed after the Revolution; the arrest of his dad, a political scientist, suggested it might be a good time to emigrate, which the entire family eventually did. Sean, while in high school, initially went to live with relatives in Turkey, then came to the United States, where his family reunited in Maryland. Sean completed high school in the US, and attended the University of Maryland, studying neurobiology and music theory, and traveling extensively on the side to NYC to pursue his passion for music composition and performance (especially classical guitar). After a pre-doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and obtaining an MPH, Sean went to medical school, but was surprised by how unscientific so much of medicine was as compared to science. After receiving his MD, he took at detour into entrepreneurship for several years, before being seduced back into medicine, completing a fellowship in oncology at the NCI, drawn by the promise he could pursue sophisticated analytics, inspired by the intellectual activity that was occurring in DC at the time, in particular the work of Todd Park and Aneesh Chopra. After his fellowship, Sean transitioned to the FDA, where he developed and championed the “INFORMED” initiative, which he’s described as “an incubator for driving innovations in agile technology, digital health, and data science to advance public health.” Late last year, Sean left DC for J&J, where he’s now head of data science strategy, and has the chance to work with some of the smartest and most decent people in the industry, including J&J’s head of R&D Mathai Mammen, (an MD/PhD classmate of David’s). Tech Tonics is grateful to Manatt Health for its sponsorship of the show. Manatt Health is a multi-disciplinary professional services firm that includes a full service law firm and a broad-based strategic business and policy consulting practice to help clients grow and prosper. Manatt Health supports the full range of stakeholders in transforming America’s healthcare system.
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