When Shaan Gandhi was writing his doctoral dissertation on colorectal cancer at the University of Oxford, it occurred to him that while his research was important, it wasn’t enough. “It’s not enough to just develop a treatment,” he says today. “That treatment needs to go to a drug or biotechnology company and be commercialized and marketed. That way, the knowledge we develop at the lab bench can actually make it to the bedside.”
Gandhi didn’t waste any time acting on his revelation. As a medical student at Harvard University, he worked as a health insurance consultant and investigated the commercialization of drugs and diagnostic tools. He joined Harvard Business School in 2013, and became chief medical officer of Wellable, a company that develops software that allows commercial health insurers to track their members’ fitness and wellness activities.
“We can take data from someone’s iPhone or Android to measure how much they run, for example, and how intense that exercise was,” Gandhi explains. “We then convert that data into a form that a health insurer can use to give their member incentive payments. It’s a system where specific actions people take to take care of themselves can be rewarded with very specific rewards.”
As Gandhi finishes his first year of business school and prepares for his residency, he’s looking forward to combining the three aspects of healthcare he most enjoys: research, clinical practice, and management. “When we make all these factors work together,” he says, “we can ensure that everyone gets better access to care, higher-quality care, and hopefully cheaper care as well.”
Gandhi believes the TYLENOL® Future Care Scholarship can be valuable to students in ways they might not have thought about. “Applying for the scholarship requires some thought about what it is you want to do in the field of healthcare. And that process is very instructive in that it really gets you to think about what you want to do,” he says. “It’s important to think very deeply about what you want to do with your life: what makes you happy, what inspires you, and what gets you up in the morning,” he continues. “Think about it, then go do that.”