There’s nothing more inspiring than working with interns and feeding off their curiosity and eagerness to learn more about the life sciences industry. That’s why the Lefteroff Fellowship remains one of our favorite programs here at the Institute.
Now in its fifth year, it continues to evolve, thanks to our expanding collaboration with El Camino Hospital physicians, our mentors and corporate partners, as well the continued high caliber of participants whom we attract and their penchant for capitalizing on the opportunity.
This year we had the largest pool of applicants yet and selected 13 very qualified candidates from across the nation. The interns completed an intense, hands-on, eight-week program that exposed them to the entire process of developing a therapy – from early concept development to actualization – with the goal of encouraging them to pursue careers in the healthcare industry.
During the program, each intern was assigned to one of the Institute’s companies-in-residence so they could obtain real-life experience with developing medical technologies and be exposed to the different skillsets needed to build a medtech company.
They also had the opportunity to shadow physicians at El Camino Hospital, thanks to a program driven by Zach Edmonds, MD, a clinical advisor to the Fogarty Institute. Each intern spent two to three days with a variety of clinicians in the hospital with the option to choose between 28 different specialties, including anesthesia, neurosurgery, orthopedics, cardiac surgery, hospital medicine, emergency room, cardiology, obstetrics and interventional radiology.
To broaden their experience and learn the value of networking and mentorship, the interns met with seasoned executives and industry experts during several field trips to partner companies and organizations, including:
• JLABS, where they had the opportunity to meet with Lesley Stolz, head of JLABS Bay Area, and Renee Ryan, vice president, Venture Investments for J&J, who gave them background on the company and its innovation labs.
• HeartFlow, the Institute’s first graduate company, where they toured the facility and learned first-hand from founder and CEO Charley Taylor what it’s like to build a company.
• Abbott Labs, where our vice chair of the board, Dr. Fred St Goar, led a tour of the company and reviewed the development history of the MitraClip and its subsequent impact on patients worldwide.
• Stanford Biodesign, where they met Dr. Paul Yock and other team members. During their visit, they ran through a mock example of using the Biodesign process to address conditions such as concussion, airline infections, snoring and hip fractures. Here they also connected with a former Fogarty intern, Dr. Patrick Thompson, who is now a Biodesign Fellow, giving them a glimpse into future opportunities created by the program.
Over the summer, the interns also attended the Institute’s educational seminars and met with guest speakers and mentors, including the Fogarty Institute executive team, serial entrepreneur Josh Makower, world-renowned reconstructive plastic surgeon Dr. Burt Brent, and Fogarty Institute chairman of the board Dr. Tom Krummel.
Overall, the interns continue to find the most impactful aspects of the program to be the hands-on experiences they gain, the opportunity to shadow real-life physicians, and the ability to seek advice from mentors and industry leaders.
About the Lefteroff Fellowship
The internship was created in 2013 to honor Tracy Lefteroff‘s spirit and passion to cultivate and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators in life sciences. Tracy was a former board member and avid supporter of the Fogarty Institute.