This is where health care innovation begins

By Debra Bradley Ruder

Danny Jooyoung Kim stumbled into the world of entrepreneurship during his first week in Bouvé’s Doctor of Pharmacy program. On his way to a dinner date, he took a “wrong turn” into a lecture and became so absorbed that he texted the young woman to cancel.

Needless to say, the budding romance died with the speed of Kim’s text. But in its place, he discovered another passion.

During the talk, New York Times bestselling author Brant Cooper challenged the notion that business visionaries like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs are blessed with a mysterious genius that we mortals do not possess. Cooper contends that this myth prevents far too many people from pursuing their inspiration.

“Something ignited a spark in me,” recalled Kim, BS/PharmD’22. “I realized that innovation emerges when an average Joe or Jane, frustrated with a problem, takes a shot at solving it.”

Kim was so enthralled by the concept that he launched the Bouvé Innovators Club to bring together students from Bouvé and other disciplines across the university to trade ideas about improving the health field. For example, a Bouvé student might team up with a computer science major to create a mobile app to help patients manage their diabetes.

“We want to make Northeastern the center of student-led innovation and entrepreneurship in healthcare,” said Kim, whose parents are both pharmacists in Korea.

The club plans to work with other student-led organizations at northeastern, such as the Scout design studio and the IDEA venture accelerator. Kim also hopes to get mentoring assistance through Health Sciences Entrepreneurs, an organization established by Joseph Fleming, PAH’70, MS’71, to help members of the Bouvé community build successful businesses in the health sciences.

At its first meeting in April 2018, the Bouvé Innovators Club attracted more than 40 participants from nearly a dozen majors, including nursing, molecular biology, chemical engineering, computer science, finance, and pharmacy, according to Kim.

“You don’t have to start a company to be an entrepreneur,” he said. “You just have to learn the mindset, be at the right place at the right time, and get involved. Where some people see a problem as a burden, an entrepreneur sees it as a possibility. You say, ‘There must be a better way of doing this.’”

Oh, and the dinner companion that Kim stood up his first week at Bouvé? They became good friends.

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