PharmD student makes it to finals of MIT-Harvard Medical School Healthcare Innovation Boot Camp


September 6, 2018

Smit Patel with his group
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Our students traveled all over this summer, seeing all that the world has to offer. For Smit Patel, a 2021 Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) candidate, his traveling included attending the MIT-Harvard Medical School Healthcare Innovation Boot Camp, a new accelerated-learning program by Harvard Medical School’s Center of Primary Care and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The goal of the program is for students to learn and practice leadership and innovation principles taught at MIT, arming them with the innovation and inspiration to make a change wherever they go. During the program, students make connections with participants from around the globe while attending lectures on innovation and entrepreneurship from MIT instructors. At the end of the one week boot camp, students present projects on ventures they created with assigned teams.

Patel discovered the opportunity while looking at summer internships online. To apply and be selected for the program, he had to create videos and a resume sharing why he would be a good fit for the program.

“I was very fortunate to be one of the youngest students to be a part of this great class of professionals, brainiacs, scientists, physicians and academics,” Patel said. “During the program we were challenged to think about ideas that could innovate patient experiences.”

Over the course of a week, Patel was teamed up with a group of fellow innovators to create their own venture that could revolutionize health care. Based on primary market research, his team identified a problem within women’s health and decided to design a new device and mechanism for PAP smear kits that could be used at home in a convenient, comfortable and economic way. After completing the ideation and research process, Patel was selected to represent his team in the semi-finals and finals of product pitches in front of panel of judges, including faculty members from MIT and Harvard, and successful entrepreneurs in the field. At the end of the presentations, Patel and his team were named a top five finalist.

“This experience was challenging, exhilarating and euphoric,” Patel said. “I learned important life lessons and made lifelong friends who share the same passion and love of innovating health care.”

 In addition to his accomplishment, Patel credits the program with helping him better define his career choices and what he wants to do after he graduates.

“This program helped me identify opportunities to be improved in the pharmacy profession and showed me it is ok to fail in order to find a path towards success,” Patel said.