Marrying business and medicine is what this podcast is all about. Having said that, we bring you Dr. Alice Zheng, the woman whose entire professional life revolves around business, health, and making these two work well together. Dr. Zheng is a principal at RH Capital, a fund that invests in women’s health companies that are bringing innovation, access, and equity. This fund’s priorities are maternal health, contraception, and reproductive health, all of which are highly underestimated areas of healthcare. Being a fervent advocate for equity in women’s health, Dr. Zheng has dedicated her career to making things better for women in unfavorable conditions.

Dr. Alice Zheng has an extremely diverse background. She has extensive experience in global health, clinical medicine, management consulting, and venture capital. Alice holds an MD, MPH, and an MBA, which already makes her a very intriguing character, and she has also trained as a physician. With an all-consuming passion, Dr. Zheng will talk with Rachel and Dr. Dweck about her beginnings in the business world, her undying love for patient care, and her recent endeavors as an investor in the field of women’s health. Stay tuned and listen to this superwoman as she talks about her incredible superpowers!

You can subscribe or listen to previous episodes of the Busine$$ of the V podcast by clicking here.

TOPICS COVERED:

  • How Alice got from medicine to investing and how adventurous and unpredictable her journey has been.
  • While in business school, Dr. Zheng realized she didn’t have to be a doctor to make a difference in healthcare, which opened up new opportunities for her.
  • Dr. Zheng learned a great deal in a short period while working at McKinsey, which she considers invaluable.
  • Dr. Dweck agrees with Alice that OB/GYNs are always activists and they always have some kind of a cause.
  • We learn what fistula is and how women who suffer from this devastating condition are treated in their community.
  • Alice recommends that all OB/GYNs read Medical Bondage, a book that she found extremely eye-opening.
  • Rachel is curious about how Alice’s knowledge affects her experience as a patient with the health care system.
  • When deciding where to invest, Dr. Zheng always asks herself, “Is there an unmet need here?”
  • There are several female-specific health issues where clinicians are simply not trained and informed enough.
  • According to Dr. Zheng, many innovations are happening in other healthcare branches, but women’s health does not seem to get this kind of attention.
  • Dr. Dweck emphasizes the impossibility of simply applying what we know about men’s health to issues concerning women’s health.
  • We learn whether changes such as the Kaiser system or Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical have resulted in the desired outcomes.
  • In the United Kingdom, a new strategy for women’s health and care delivery has been implemented, which indicates that the government is actively working to improve women’s healthcare delivery.
  • According to Rachel, many entrepreneurs only focus on one aspect of women’s health because they cannot fix the entire system. Women’s health is very complex and it cannot be addressed all at once.
  • RH Capital, the fund where Alice works, focuses solely on conditions that affect women only, with a particular emphasis on contraception and maternal health.
  • Dr. Zheng highlights that black and brown women in America have disproportionately poor outcomes when it comes to maternal health.
  • HOT FLASH: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make 80% of healthcare decisions in the United States. This is very important because these decisions can lead women to have a very significant impact on the health of the entire family.

QUOTES:

“Even though I grew up in a sheltered suburb of Detroit, I had this passion for wanting to make an impact firsthand.” (Dr. Zheng)

“I have to chuckle at something you said about OB/GYNs always being activists with some sort of a cause. That’s why we’re up all night. We have to find something to do with every minute of the day.” (Dr. Dweck)

“Fistula is a very devastating event that can occur for a woman. Things may come out of the vagina that are not necessarily meant to, and this can be stifling for women in different communities.” (Dr. Dweck)

“Racist history behind modern OB/GYN is something that was never talked about when I was a medical student, and I don’t think my colleagues who are in OB/GYN today have had much exposure.” (Dr. Zheng)

“You’re taking a look from 10,000 feet and providing strategy and direction. You have a public health degree. You’re a doctor, you’re now an investor. You’ve been a patient. That’s a lot of knowledge to carry around.” (Rachel)

“There was a time when women’s health was thought of even more as a niche and was underinvested and underserved. I think the times are changing.” (Dr. Zheng)

“For example, menopause is an area where there are large patient numbers, all women go through it, and yet we don’t have great clinical understanding.” (Dr. Zheng)

“Women’s health isn’t just about female body parts. It’s about the health of women.” (Dr. Zheng)

“We cannot necessarily take the learning that we have about men’s heart attacks and just apply it to women. There is a boundless unmet need in female-specific and non-female specific issues.” (Dr. Dweck)

“If a woman has a concern, a condition, or a disease, it affects multiple systems in her body. You need to have access to care. It has to be affordable. It’s so complex that it feels almost immovable.” (Rachel)

FURTHER RESOURCES:

RH Capital: www.rhiaventures.org/rhcapital/

Alice @LinkedIn

LINKS FOR BUSINE$$ OF THE V:

Website: www.businessofthev.com

Dr. Alyssa Dweck: https://drdweck.com

Rachel Braun Scherl: www.sparksolutionsforgrowth.com/about-rachel-braun-scherl/

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