A social innovation that uses technology to improve healthcare has netted a Cambridge Judge Business School student a second listing in the prestigious Forbes rankings
PhD student Isaac Holeman has been named one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs under 30 by Forbes for the second year running. Isaac is co-founder of Medic Mobile, an entrepreneurial company that uses technology to improve health services in more than 20 countries. Isaac is studying organisational behaviour and information systems at CJBS.
Medic Mobile began during Isaac’s time at Lewis & Clark when he and some friends began using a free software application called FrontlineSMS to coordinate community health workers. After a successful pilot at St Gabriel’s Hospital in Malawi, they realised they could use technology to improve health care in other challenging settings around the world.
Medic Mobile’s projects are now helping 16,000 health workers and 7.5 million people across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States.
Isaac’s first role with Medic Mobile was to focus on its impact strategy and build a team. He took the company from 0 to 20+ employees, helping design first versions of Medic Mobile’s SIM card and web applications, and developing human centered design as an organisation-wide competency.
Today, he has stepped aside from frontline operations to pursue his studies but continues to contribute to Medic Mobile as a scientist and board member.
Describing himself as ‘a proud son of Oregon’, Isaac says his early dream was to be a doctor:
I always thought I’d go to medical school someday because I wanted that hands-on, care-oriented skill. It was only after a year with Medic Mobile in Malawi that I realised technology would be just as hands-on, just as intellectually stimulating, and still let me be involved with health care. My passion is for improving health care and the quality of health care. I’ve also realised, during my time at Cambridge, that I have a real desire to teach and my goal now is to become teaching faculty at a business school in the future, and to remain involved with social enterprise programmes.
Besides the Forbes rankings, Isaac was also named mHealth innovator of the year in 2011, awarded Echoing Green, Compton and Pamplin fellowships, and inducted into the Better World By Design hall of fame. His PhD supervisor Michael Barrett said:
Isaac has, at such a young age, made an incredible contribution to the use of mobile technology in improving the lives of others. He is a good example of how we can, through our research in IT and social innovation, make a difference to the healthcare and well being of people in developing countries. Well done Isaac!