Doctorpreneur: When Physicians Become Entrepreneurs
By: Aaliya Yaqub MD
Most entrepreneurs aren’t physicians, and most physicians don’t realize that they can start companies. It’s beautiful thing, though, to see more doctors and doctors-in-training becoming interested in healthcare innovation, digital health and the entire healthcare ecosystem outside of traditional clinical medicine. As an adjunct professor at Stanford School of Medicine, when I spend time with first and second year medical students, they are most often curious about what opportunities are available to them outside of clinical practice in an academic setting or private group setting. It turns out that you no longer have to choose between being clinical and doing something more innovative and entrepreneurial. You can have your cake and eat it too, actually. You just have to know what is out there and how to carve our opportunities for yourself.
My advice to doctors-in-training:
- Be curious and have an open mind. Know that there is an entire world out there focused on healthcare innovation—please explore it. It would be sad to miss out on contributing your passion to that if it’s interesting to you.
- You can carve out the career that fulfills you without settling. You can still practice medicine and work with startups as an advisor or consultant on the side. Or, you can completely leave clinical medicine and dedicate your time to things like starting your own company or business, becoming a healthcare investor or working in industry on the development of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. There’s also the physician executive path where you can be a hospital or healthcare system administrator. Your options are endless. If you go into a field like family medicine, internal medicine or emergency medicine, you can also practice part time and also work with interesting companies the rest of the time.
- To learn more about healthcare startups, incubators, and stories of entrepreneurs, check out the following resources:
I’d love to hear from you and happy to answer any questions.
Bio: Aaliya Yaqub MD is a board-certified internist with expertise in dermatology and rheumatology. She is on faculty at Stanford School of medicine where she teaches medical students and is a key advisor to several healthcare startups in Silicon Valley. She is also the medical founder of Forward, a concierge health membership which uses technology to empower patients. She is passionate about empowering others and teaching young doctors about entrepreneurship and innovation.
Check out her Instagram @clearskindoc.