Our Lefteroff summer internship program is off to a great start. Twelve college students from throughout the U.S. are already in the midst of working hand-in-hand with some of our startups and have embarked on a full schedule of presentations by industry experts, surgery observations, physician shadowing and site tours of leading-edge medtech companies and hospitals.
The program offers a unique opportunity for these young scholars to be exposed to many parts of the ecosystem that helps form and shape medical technology startups, as well as learning the skills and mindset that contribute to successful entrepreneurship.
As we continuously strive to improve our program with the goal of making a positive impact on patient care, we like to take a moment to look back at a few success stories of past interns, which can serve as inspiration for future years:
- Sarah Avery Long, a med student at Tulane University and 2014 Lefteroff intern, compiled and presented proof of CyberHeart’s successful treatment to the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress earlier this year. During her internship, Sarah worked closely with CyberHeart, a Fogarty Institute startup that is developing the first non-invasive robotic ablation treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. This hands-on experience fueled her passion for cardiac surgery, a field she is currently pursuing.
- Nik Bhatt, an undergraduate student at UCLA and also a 2015 CyberHeart intern, co-authored a paper addressing treatment options for patients with chronic kidney disease who may be rendered ineligible for catheter ablation, but may benefit from the startup’s novel technology. The paper was recently published in the prestigious World Journal of Cardiovascular Diseases.
- Lindsay Axelrod and Natasha Kafai, 2015 Lefteroff summer interns, co-authored two poster abstracts that were accepted for presentation at the Digestive Disease Week conference, the world’s largest gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. The presentations discussed the value of non-invasively monitoring the activity in the digestive tract and the best locations to place myoelectrical signals on the lower digestive organs to diagnose GI disorders. Axelrod, who was one of the presenters, was also a finalist of Digestive Disease Week’s Young Investigators poster competition.
- Tiffany Chang, a 2014 Lefteroff summer intern, worked closely with nVision, a Fogarty Institute company that is developing two devices: the first will significantly advance the diagnosis of the leading cause of female infertility, fallopian tube blockage. The second device will allow gynecologists to collect cells from the fallopian tube to further explore a patient’s symptoms. Following her internship, Chang joined nVision as a consultant and later as a full-time quality specialist employee.
Every time we hear of one of these success stories, we are proud of the role that the Fogarty Institute and our summer internship program plays in sparking interest and providing valuable experience to these future innovators, as we help pave the way towards building the skills and confidence they need to pursue a career in healthcare.