The 2016-17 fellows are moving at high-speed these days as they continue their research, testing, and development during Health for America at MedStar Health’s ideation phase. Even still, Katia and Mike found a moment to sit down and reflect on their fellowship experiences, distill some of their personal learning, and share some advice for applicants to the 2017-18 fellowship.
At this point, you're almost halfway through the fellowship. What's been your most exciting experience so far?
Katia Vlasova (KV): Working as a team to generate ideas after shadowing physicians, therapists, and patients has been the most exciting part of the journey so far for me. It's been especially satisfying to help each idea grow from a seed to something much bigger, with each person building upon it and guiding the evolution. The collaborative nature of this process has been incredible for me.
Mike Mezher (MM): Attending healthcare innovation conferences presents the opportunity to talk freely to heads of startups, as well as higher ups within large organizations. The ability to network with such notable individuals has provided me with an entirely new level of insight regarding entrepreneurship in healthcare.
What have you learned about health innovation that's been particularly surprising or interesting?
KV: Diving into the world of health innovation, I feel like I've been able to observe a paradigm shift in action: small startups entering into realms where only medical giants stood before. It seems that with enough drive, motivation, and the sheer brilliance of an idea, anyone can disrupt the current order and spur innovation.
MM: Traditionally, health care has lagged behind other industries with respect to implementing state-of-the-art technology. Only recently has this started to change, in part due to the advent of the growth in value-based health care.
Picturing yourself a year or even 10 years from now, how do you imagine your experience as an HFA fellow will continue to impact your career?
KV: I've grown from working with a diverse team, shadowing and interviewing stakeholders to deeply understand the healthcare landscape, and developing, testing, and piloting ideas. These skills will universally apply to anything I pursue next. As a proponent for integrative medicine, I can see myself applying these skills to create further change in this emerging field.
MM: Through my fellowship experience thus far, I've learned how to effectively make, maintain, and collaborate with new professional connections. I feel that this skill alone will continue to positively impact my career for years to come.
Thinking back to your experience with the fellowship application process, is there any advice you'd offer applicants for the 2017-18 program?
KV: Try to envision what it requires to create a novel, sustainable, and scalable health solution. Picture how you will be able to contribute to this landscape and how it will help you grow. Reflect on your leadership style and consider how you work within a small team—honing these skills will help you thrive as you work in close collaboration with your fellowship peers.
MM: Be bold, be strong, be yourself. Don't be afraid to stand out!
Stay tuned to hear from King and Stephanie in a few weeks. In the meantime, if you’re considering applying to the 2017-18 fellowship, be sure to register for our webinar on Feb. 7 at 8pm EST!