It’s always an exciting time when we welcome our new class of Lefteroff interns to the Fogarty Innovation campus. One of the things they learn while here is that they will always be part of the Fogarty family, which we were reminded of recently when 2018 graduate Ben Lynch shared some updates on his career path and how the organization’s legacy continues to inspire him.
Fogarty roots support his journey
After completing the Lefteroff internship, Ben worked for two years at Boston Children’s Hospital doing clinical research in the department of neurosurgery, which solidified his interest in pursuing medical school and eventually becoming a surgeon. He is currently in his second year at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “While doing research and learning about medical device development was fascinating, the main draw for me in clinical medicine is working directly with patients,” he said.
Ben appreciates the exposure to that side he received during the Lefteroff program through Zach Edmonds, MD, who invited interns interested in medicine to talk with him about what the field entailed and encouraged them to shadow physicians at El Camino Health’s hospital. For Ben, clinical observation proved to be one of his favorite activities. “The doctors were so receptive to the interns. They were happy to answer questions and I had the opportunity to watch a lot of different surgeries, which helped convince me this was the right path for me,” he said.
Maintaining an interest in innovation
Although Ben knows he wants to pursue clinical medicine, his summer at Fogarty Innovation opened his eyes to medtech innovation, and today he sits on the executive board of the innovation medicine interest group at Columbia. “In medical school, there isn’t a focus on devices or technology, so the club offers an opportunity to learn more and stay involved.”
In fact, Ben recently invited Fred St Goar, MD, vice chairman of the Fogarty board, to speak to the group. The club is currently sponsoring a hackathon and considering adding other innovation educational opportunities, in addition to their speaker series.
Ben notes that the Fogarty connection recurs often as he pursues his medical studies. For example, last year, his class was learning about and trying the MitraClip, which was developed by Fred St Goar and Ferolyn Powell, for whom the Fogarty partner, Ferolyn Fellowship. is named. He also saw a Fogarty catheter being used during a procedure.
Ben also saw the Fogarty innovation legacy in full force recently during a shadow with an OB-GYN interest group. He watched a routine, straightforward birth and helped catch the baby and clip the umbilical cord. At first, Ben recalls, everyone was cheering, but then he noticed the mood shifting among the providers when they realized the placenta wasn’t being delivered. They fixed the issue but then the patient started bleeding profusely. “The next thing I knew, they were using Jada System from Alydia Health, and once they deployed it, the bleeding quickly slowed and then stopped. In five minutes, we went from a very scary situation to having a patient who was once again stable.”
All in all, Ben’s time at Fogarty continues to influence his future in the medical field. “I had an amazing summer in Mountain View and I highly recommended the internship to anyone interested in life sciences,” Ben says. “It planted the seed that innovation matters and can make a big impact on patients’ lives. Even if you decide to be clinician or do research, it’s incredibly valuable to have insight into this field.”