Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Medicine

an elective at Emory University For 2nd year medical students


Course summary

In this course, 2nd year medical students learn about tech startups, which have transformed our lives and hopefully will also improve patient care.

Software is eating the world. Recently, the tech world has set its sights on healthcare. Advances in cloud computing, smartphones, genomics, wearable sensors, etc. have enabled new interactions between computer science / engineering and medicine. This union is called "digital health". New technologies plus a national shift to value-based-care has incentivized startups to improve healthcare.

We envision a future where clinicians collaborate with technologists, patients, funders, and other stakeholders to advance patient care through technology innovation and entrepreneurship. However, opportunities for clinicans in tech are difficult to pursue due to a lack of exposure, cultural misalignment, and geographic barriers. Our goal is to infuse some Silicon Valley spirit into medicine.

This course was offered in Fall 2014 and 2015. Note it is not being offered in Fall 2016.

Learning Objectives

  1. Assess a startup using the business model canvas as a framework.
  2. Learn about healthcare economics and reimbursement.
  3. Appreciate how behavioral economics assesses decision-making.
  4. Review advances in digital health and health IT.
  5. Survey accelerators, incubators, and other startup resources.
  6. Learn about patents and IP fundamentals.
  7. Understand fundamentals of startup investing (angel, seed, & VC).
  8. Meet like-minded students, clinicians, engineers, and founders.
  9. Learn how academic clinicians collaborate with the tech industry.


Default sessions are 1-3 pm at SoM 253A.

Date Speaker Topic Video / Slides
8/21 Angela Fusaro, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine
Problem-based innovation YouTube / slides
8/21 Arun Mohan, MD, MBA
CMO, ApolloMD
Healthcare finance & care delivery YouTube
9/11 Harold Solomon
Principal, GT VentureLab
Evidence-based entrepreneurship YouTube
9/18 Richard Duszak, MD
Professor & Vice Chair for Health Policy and Practice
Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences
Emory University School of Medicine
Healthcare economics & reimbursement Slides
9/22 Arash Harzand, MD, MBA
Cardiology Fellow, Emory
Director of Business Development, Forge
Digital health research & Atlanta startup resources
9/25 Evan McClure
MD/MBA student, Emory

Felipe Rojas
MBA student, Emory
Angel, seed, and VC funding

Drug royalties & pharma
YouTube (funding)
Handout (funding)
Slides (drug royalties)
10/9 Nate Gross, MD, MBA
Co-founder, Rock Health & Doximity
Trends & careers in digital health
10/27 Nicole Morris, Esq
Director of TI:GER and Professor in Practice
Emory University School of Law
Patents & intellectual property Slides (IP)
10/29 Daniel Brat, MD, PhD
Professor & Chair, Department of Biomedical Informatics
Vice-Chair, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine

Nabile Safdar, MD, MPH
Associate Professor & Vice Chair for Imaging Informatics
Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences
Emory University School of Medicine
Informatics, innovation, & industry
11/10 Angela Fusaro, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine
Final presentations & closing thoughts


  • Medical students will form groups of 2-3.
  • Each team will choose and assess a tech startup using the business model canvas.
  • Each week, teams will focus on one part of the canvas, learn more about their chosen startup, and share their findings with the class.
  • MBA and JD students, founders, and mentors will informally advise medical student teams.
  • At the end of the course, teams will summarize recommendations to the class and the startup they analyzed.

Course feedback (updated with 2015 data)

Medical students completed a questionnaire after the course. They rated agreement with statements on a Likert scale ranging from 1-10; 5 was neutral, 1 indicated strong disagreement, and 10 indicated strong agreement. N = 10.

Fig 1

100% of students recommended the elective for next year’s students.

We also asked students if "their ideal career in 2034 changed since this elective". Here are some notable responses:

Yes, it definitely did. I wasn't aware of all the opportunities that exist with innovation in medicine. I feel like this course opened my eyes to a different world that I would like to be more involved with in the future.
My ideal career has not changed (combo of research+clinical), but I now hope to include more participation in entrepreneurship/startups if I am able to.