May 18, 2023 – Two entrepreneurial ventures cofounded by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health alumni received prizes in the 2023 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge.
The annual competition is aimed at helping Harvard students and select alumni propel their innovative ideas forward via funding from the Bertarelli Foundation. At an award ceremony held May 3, 14 winning teams received cash prizes.
Patient First.AI, a company cofounded by Fiza Shaukat, MPH ’22, and Farooq Shaukat, was one of the first-place winners and received $75,000 in prize money. The company is developing a digital health card to store, analyze, and monitor a patient’s health records all in one place so they can be seamlessly shared with physicians, pharmacies, and labs. Patient First.AI aims to bring its technology to developing countries in particular, where gaps in health care access pose a major challenge.
“I am extremely happy to receive the award,” said Fiza Shaukat. “My cofounder and I started Patient First.AI two years ago with the vision of making health care accessible for the patients in international markets such as Pakistan, Africa, and Brazil. This award will help us take the first step to scaling our product to 100,000 patients in the upcoming year.”
Pacto Medical, a venture cofounded by Ian Speers, MPH ’22, Robert Halvorsen, and Ryan Stinebaugh, received a $2,700 Ingenuity Award, which recognizes ideas with the potential to change the world. The group has invented a collapsible medical syringe with a packaging footprint that is 40% smaller than that of current prefilled syringes. The design aims to save shipping costs, reduce environmental impact, and make syringes available to more patients around the world.
Both of the ventures previously received $1,000 Sastry Innovation Awards from Harvard Chan School to develop their ideas.
– Jay Lau
Photo: Eve Photography | Evgenia Eliseeva
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