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Our 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators of 2015

20. Pooja Kumar

0004_kumarPooja Kumar, MD, MSc, says that she has weaved the lessons from small moments in her life into a tapestry of success. Her childhood was spent living in several countries, which taught her about cultures and adaptability; her medical training at Harvard and work in refugee health camps gave her “on the ground” insight into public health. Now, Kumar relies on these gathered insights every day as a healthcare consultant for McKinsey & Company.

In Kumar’s macro view, there are few big challenges facing payers and providers. For payers, it’s all about designing fair payment models and understanding how best to support the delivery system. For providers, it’s about simplifying the complexities and eliminating unnecessary hurdles preventing patients from receiving optimal care. At the core, she says it’s about cracking the code of patient engagement – and entrepreneurs need to dive in by keeping simplicity as a top priority.

Kumar originally wanted to be an english professor (she loves fiction) or a veterinarian (she loves her two rescue dogs), but she has become a leader by aligning her career path with her greater goals. “First, find what makes you tick. Then, build a career that maximizes that,” she says. As a female and a minority, she believes we’re lucky to be living in a time after folks have fought battles for us to be represented. “However, there’s so much evidence that continues to point to implicit bias both gender-related and racial. Don’t accept anything but what you deserve.”

Shreya Iyer

Shreya Iyer

    Shreya specializes in health communications and is a copywriter for an advertising agency. She was previously at Bayer Healthcare, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

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