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What was your first step after undergraduate graduation & how did it impact your career path?
Career-wise, I mesh my understanding of both clinical and social psychology when I analyze medical startups and healthcare businesses. Understanding human behavior is an integral part of negotiations, relationship building and cultivating connections with entrepreneurs and investors. My bachelor’s degree from UM focused on Brain, Behavior & Cognitive Sciences. Later, while in medical school, I spent a year performing clinical research with the Psychiatry Department at UM, and I focused on depression & stigma towards mental health in the Arab-American community. My team's findings and data shed light upon the issue’s prevalence and addressed reasons as to why depression was such a topic of taboo in Arab culture. These experiences have given me a powerful foundation of knowledge that I use in both my personal and business endeavors.
What are you doing today?
I am the Director of Market and Business Development at Gempshire Therapeutics. I am also a partner at IncWell, an early-stage venture capital fund based in Birmingham, MI. We provide seed funding, strategic partnerships and mentorship for U.S. and Canadian startup companies. I have lead responsibility for all medical sector activities, and am currently focused on artificial intelligence in healthcare and consumer health products. IncWell – founded in 2013 by former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda – offers a highly collaborative workplace that allows me to utilize all of my diverse, broad UM experience.
How do you use your psychology undergraduate experience in your work?
My bachelor’s degree from UM focused on Brain, Behavior & Cognitive Sciences. Later, while in medical school, I spent a year performing clinical research with the Psychiatry Department at UM, and I focused on depression & stigma towards mental health in the Arab-American community.
What inspired you to enter that field/job/profession?
I’m inspired (and excited) by risk. We live in a world where technology is advancing and transforming healthcare at a rate faster than the system can keep up with. We can’t predict what the future of healthcare will be, but we can prepare. By analyzing medical trends and exploring new technology like artificial intelligence, I am able to take part in shaping and enhancing the industry’s roadmap. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to other startup hubs across the United States, checking out what some of the nation’s best business minds have to offer. Yes, they are confident in their ideas. No, they cannot guarantee their success. This risk of the unknown is what drives entrepreneurs to innovate and invent.
What advice do you have for students getting a degree in the UM Psychology Department or considering your profession?
My advice is simple and double-sided: Connect and explore. Connect with your UM professors, mentors, peers and alumni. Explore potential career options and fill your summers with travel and internships. Get your hands dirty to see what it’s like to succeed in your prospective career so you don’t end up spending 10 years figuring out what you want to commit to. And finally, demonstrate grit. Remember that you are a wolverine. Persist through challenges and commit to excellence. Set a positive example for others and be grateful for the education you are earning.
What was your favorite experience while studying in the UM Psychology Department?
I absolutely loved the course, PSYCH 530: Behavior of Wolves & Dogs taught by Professor Barbara Smuts. For my final paper in that class, I created a business plan to use a Dog-As-A-Service (DaaS) as a replacement for a pregnancy test. This idea came from learning that a dog’s sense of smell is so acute that some can detect certain cancers or smell early signs of pregnancy. In some sense, the course lit my entrepreneurial spirit. This was the first business plan I ever created, and now I review business plans for a living (I haven’t come across any dog-related pitches yet).