Our Reflections From the 2019 Startup Health Festival



We had another great Startup Health Festival this year! Our CEO Brandi took the stage to discuss our mission of transforming Primary Care into the TRUE front line of defense against obesity diabetes and hypertension.  

Here, we reflect on the healthcare rockstars we heard from that week: 

Kaiser Permanente, CEO Bernard J. Tyson

Natalie: It was interesting to hear how they are tackling prevention and encouraging innovation amongst their physician employees.  

Brandi: I was interested to hear the focus on social care, mental health, wellness and the mention of building a medical school to train docs in a different way. It sounded like they would start to train physicians on primary prevention practices. I’ve always said medicine needs to look to public health. We’ve been practicing and studying primary prevention for centuries. 

Park Brothers, Todd and Ed, Devoted Health

Natalie: I loved hearing about their “Payvidor” approach. They are really blending the payor and the provider perspectives in their model. What is really exciting is taking a look at their head start in the south florida market on their website with their strong network of primary care providers listed. They are “working manically to care for everyone like Mom.” Telemedicine and house calls are the tip of the iceberg. I think integrating lifestyle medicine into their primary care group has a significant potential to complement their model.  

Brandi: The Park brothers pointed out that having a cofounder is like having a sibling. They shared how they practice “unconditional positive regard” and “assumption of positive intent”. They were not afraid to use the word “love” over and over again when talking about their approach to healthcare and in their business. The most resonating differential value is a product built on love. “Do something you love with people you love”- Todd Park

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent 

Natalie: We heard from Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, whose passion for the truth led him to brave a dual career in medicine and journalism. He is bringing light to our overdose epidemic with an interesting perspective in a new documentary called "One Nation Under Stress". 


Brandi: Living in Kentucky, the issue Dr. Gupta focused on hits "close to home". Our state has seen this epidemic have major effects on our communities. I was encouraged to see that someone like Dr. Gupta is bringing more awareness to this issue. It was refreshing to hear his "no holds barred" comments about how important it is for pharma and providers to not only engage in solutions, but also take some responsibility for the problem to begin with. 


Dr. Dean and Anne Ornish, Authors of "Undo It" 

Natalie: Perhaps my favorite talk was hearing from Dean and Anne Ornish, who is one of our clinical champions of the Startup Health family. He and his wife Anne shared the wisdom of their latest book, “Undo it” which I tore through the week I got home. He always starts out his talks with some discussions of research in men’s sexual performance, which always puts the men in the audience on the edge of their seats. Actually, it puts the women on the ends of their seats too. Then once we are all REALLY paying attention after the discussions of how eating plant based diet improve men’s erections, we transition into the importance of the four tenets of his health thesis.   

Brandi: I was affirmed after hearing the Ornish presentation that we are on the right track at PreventScripts. Often times with startups, it is easy to doubt every move you make, especially when it gets really hard. But seeing an enthusiastic crowd at this presentation was comforting. The idea of placing nutritional and lifestyle medicine at the forefront of our healthcare conversation is way overdue. I am excited to read their book to learn more.

Overall Take Away from the Startup Health Festival

Natalie: We are just at the inflection point of an entire new “specialty” of medicine. Lifestyle medicine. With a proper prevention management strategy in place, our patients will less frequently need drugs and surgery. They will rarely need to go see a specialist in the first place. We have emerging opportunities in genetic discoveries which empower our populations to learn more about their genetic risk of cancer. We have the opportunity to empower our populations to learn more about how their bodies’ genetics affects their reaction to certain drugs and which drugs are optimal for treatment. Pharmacogenetics discoveries and cancer genetic discoveries have the potential to accelerate cancer and chronic disease prevention at a greater pace. Add to that the successful integration of lifestyle medicine into primary care practices, we now have a never before seen opportunity to prevent lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and much of our lifestyle related cancer.

Brandi: This year’s festival was full of more energy and hopefulness about the future of healthcare than any other year I have attended. The focus on prevention and understanding that the solutions needed are more than just office management tools and fancy ways of using AI was encouraging not just for me as a healthcare transformer but also as a citizen.