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The 2016 MedTech Boston 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators


David Mou, MD, MBA
MGH/McLean Psychiatry Resident, Co Founder & Medical Director at Valera Health
David Mou, MD, MBAAs a student in Harvard’s, MD/MBA program, Dr. David Mou found himself disheartened by the state of mental healthcare. “Our patients’ suffering was profound, yet treatments were woefully imperfect,” says Mou of his frustration. So he set out with Drs. Thomas Tsang and Ofer Sharon to reinvent the way that mental healthcare is delivered by combining the rigor of academic research with the speed and impact of entrepreneurship.

Mou and his co-founders developed Valera Health, a smartphone app that uses machine-learning algorithms to predict when patients aren’t doing well clinically. “Until now, psychiatry has suffered from a measurement issue—there is no clear blood test for depression or psychosis, ” says Mou. “However, psychiatry is a field that is defined by human behavior, and this is an attribute that has become increasingly quantifiable with one increasingly ubiquitous device: the smartphone.”

By leveraging smartphones to measure how many steps users take, how many hours they sleep, how often they text, and other variables, the Valera Health app helps dedicated case managers identify users whose behaviors suggest that they are in need of support. They can then proactively direct users to mental healthcare resources, potentially saving patients from hospital visits and decreasing healthcare costs. “The greater goal is to nudge the field of behavioral health towards preventive psychiatry and away from reactive psychiatry,” says Mou.

Mou is no stranger to the innovation community. Before Valera Health, he started and sold a medical education company and worked briefly at Fidelity Biosciences, a biotech VC. His background makes him particularly well suited to serve as the medical director of Valera Health, and to continue to grow the company. “Ultimately we aim to redefine how mental illnesses are understood,” Mou said of the Valera Health’s future goals. “By studying our data carefully using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, we can jettison a one-treatment-fits-all approach and usher in the practice of precision medicine.”

MedTech Boston Staff

    Abigail Ballou, Alexandra David, Shreya Iyer and Casey Nugent contributed to this story.

    6 Comments

    1. Sraliceop@netscape says:

      Congratulations to Call9! I admire the motivation and purpose behind your work. May it enhance the Gift of Life for many people. And it all started with Al and Estelle! My best wishes and prayers!

      Alice Reichmeider, O.P.

    2. Chandra reddy says:

      Nina
      Way to go
      We are all so proud of you

    3. kusuma rao says:

      Hi Nina my name is KusumaRao classmate of your parents at MMC.i want you to know how proud i am of you not just the intelligence but the compassion for others at such an young age.To tell our own self for nthe good of others in not known in indian community. you made all of us feel good keepup the goodwork and God bless you love Kusuma aunty

    4. Dr. Harneet V Thakur says:

      Hi Anshuman,

      I am very proud of you and lucky to have you as my student. It was known during your M.tech project that you will shine. Many best wishes and congratulations. I wish you grand success in all your endevours.

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