Indian-American and fellow student launch Health Care Innovation Hub in Connecticut

Dr. David Pearlstone, Kirthi Bellamkonda, Oleg Shikhman, Donna Lecky, and Sri Muthu (Courtesy: Yale School of Medicine)

Origami Innovations, a non-profit health care innovation hub, founded by Indian American Kirthi Bellamkonda and Matt Erlendson, both students at Yale University’s School of Medicine, seeks to empower “students and community members to imagine, design, and co-create tangible, disruptive, and purpose-driven solutions to pressing issues,” according to its website.

Like the art form itself, Origami Innovations transforms ideas at reiterates to improve upon them.

Bellamkonda and Erlendson got the idea to create Origami Innovations from Erlendson’s experience in leadership roles with Stanford Medicine X, which is a Stanford University healthcare innovation hub where entrepreneurial ecosystems thrive when top-down university resources work in tandem with ground-up peer-to-peer organizations.

“There are wonderful top-down resources available to students at Yale that are doing incredible work, such as TSAI City, the Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology (CBIT), the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design (CEID), and Innovate Health Yale. Origami hopes to contribute to the existing innovation pipeline and engage the broader New Haven community,” Erlendson is quoted saying in a press release.

“Origami draws inspiration from initiatives at Stanford, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and other peer institutions using human-centered design-thinking, and looks to shape those concepts and grow them to best fit the needs of New Haven, especially in uniting problem-solving efforts by patients, family members, caregivers, and interdisciplinary teams.” Bellamkonda added.

Both students also mentioned that Origami believes in the idea of “yes, and even better if.”

The organization is also introducing the Origami Patient-Partnership-Program, based on the premise that design-thinking as it adds an important, distinctive, approach to health care.

The ‘program aims to elevate the patient voice and support an equal partnership between patients and providers in health innovation and hopes to help individual patients and also provide insights into scalable solutions that may benefit the broader community,”  according to Erlendson

In December 2017, Origami organized a team, sponsored by HealthVentures, which used the Origami design-thinking approach in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Code-a-thon focused on finding data-driven solutions to address the opioid crisis and in June, Origami took a “transformational” step by becoming one of three founding partners of Health Haven Hub (HHH), a health care innovation incubator.

Both students are thinking about the future of healthcare and how they can change certain things about it.



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