Constructing Healthcare Fairness, One Journey At A Time

For MedTrans Go CEO and Co-Founder Dana Weeks, fairness, inclusion, and belonging have at all times been driving forces, however she additionally thought well being fairness might imply higher enterprise. Pissed off by a healthcare trade hurting sufferers and companies alike, she noticed a chance and started working.


“The rationale I like my job a lot is as a result of I can have optimistic impression on folks, whereas contributing to options to healthcare trade issues, and concurrently rising a profitable enterprise.”

—Dana Weeks, CEO and Co-Founder, MedTrans Go


Jessica Pliska: I typically begin these columns asking executives about their youth influences that persist at this time. What are you able to inform me about yours?

Dana Weeks: My story begins once I was an orphan in Vietnam throughout the Vietnam Conflict. I used to be adopted by an American household once I was one-and-a-half years previous. I don’t know the total story as a result of a number of the paperwork about me was mistaken. However regardless that I used to be solely in Vietnam a short while, there are issues about me that mirror that point, which have remained very actual elements of me.

Pliska: Like what?

Weeks: Just like the robust religion I’ve in my private resilience. As a child, I found out that meals was scarce within the orphanage. We ate as soon as a day, so I realized to soak up as a lot as I might, with out swallowing all of it, after which save the remaining to nourish myself all through the remainder of the day. It was an intuition to outlive. Once I first obtained to the U.S., I continued to only shove all of my meal into my mouth and put it aside in my cheeks for later. It took time to unlearn that conduct, however the lasting impression is that I’ve an innate skill to tug energy when significantly challenged.

Pliska: Inform me about your loved ones.

Weeks: I actually imagine I used to be the infant meant to affix the household I joined. Turning into a part of this glorious, loving household of educators, social employees and entrepreneurs planted in me a freedom to be curious and empathic, and to dream, hear, and study from my household and folks round me.

Pliska: Did you proceed to really feel such a robust sense of belonging rising up?

Weeks: I grew up in upstate New York, in a really small, predominantly white city, however I at all times discovered methods to attach with folks. Later, I found I wasn’t simply Black or Asian, or an individual from a small city who could not have regarded like all people else. I might discover layers of me that linked to others. I had a number of the most lovely friendships there. The older I get, the extra I do know that distinction is a superpower, as a result of it fuels my skill to attach with completely different folks in distinctive, private methods.

Pliska: The concept a way of belonging can simply come from anyplace is such a strong lesson.

Weeks: I feel it was that my household, and people round me, at all times acknowledged, affirmed, and celebrated who I used to be. This love and affirmation helped me at all times really feel like an insider in my coronary heart.

Pliska: Was that true throughout your school expertise? You went to Stanford, the place you have been an honors pupil, a varsity athlete and senior class president.

Weeks: To at the present time, I really feel an unimaginable sense of belonging at Stanford. There have been so many communities I might align myself with: the Black neighborhood, the Asian neighborhood, the half-Asian neighborhood, the athletic and, pupil authorities communities, and my class. Provided that I grew up with out Black dad and mom however with two Black siblings, I nonetheless had a lot to study from others’ experiences. The Black neighborhood at Stanford is a splendidly various group the place we’re every distinctive. I realized that these completely different dimensions assist make communities of 1 racial identification, gender or sexual orientation so unimaginable—to be the identical and completely different, to have each protected and difficult areas, are energizing, motivating and exquisite.

Pliska: What a compelling notion. Have there been different locations you skilled this?

Weeks: I felt the identical manner within the Peace Corps, the place most volunteers have been white in Cape Verde, Africa, which is primarily a “mixed-race” society. All people regarded like me, to such a level that they thought I used to be from a specific household on a specific island of the nation! However then I used to be an American. It was an enchanting and humbling lesson on belonging and inclusion, the place in some ways I may very well be an insider primarily based on my look, however I really was an outsider.

Pliska: Shifting to your profession: You’ve labored at main corporations like Pfizer and AT&T. What’s a standout profession lesson you’d impart?

Weeks: By no means be afraid to tackle a job you won’t be totally ready for, that your resume perhaps doesn’t point out you have been made for. I beloved alternatives like that and saying, “There’s a lot I can study.”

Pliska: Do you’ve an instance?

Weeks: I took a job at an insurance coverage firm, the place I realized about worldwide finance and in regards to the function insurance coverage performs in wealth-building. It did not find yourself being the appropriate job for me and I used to be quickly provided a unique alternative that promised a brand new sphere of studying. Once I look again on it, I am pleased with myself, as a result of my intuition would usually have been to observe via on my preliminary dedication, particularly as a result of folks had invested in me. It was a threat, however it proved to be a very good one.

Pliska: Lately, your focus is MedTrans Go, a B2B expertise platform you co-founded to enhance healthcare for companies and sufferers alike. What was your inspiration?

Weeks: My co-founder, who can also be my husband, is a surgeon in personal observe, so he’s dedicated to each the perfect look after sufferers and working his observe effectively. Someday, he had two last-minute cancellations, the primary, as a result of a neighbor canceled a affected person’s trip and the second, as a result of the Spanish interpreter for the affected person did not present. We puzzled: Why does the healthcare trade settle for as truth the lack of billions of {dollars} because of cancellations? I’ll always remember the hospital administrator who requested me, “If I can order a pizza, monitor my driver and get supply in lower than half-hour, why can’t we’ve instruments to securely and reliably organize transportation or interpretation, monitor the place they’re and get sufferers to and from appointments in the identical manner?”

Pliska: So what did you do?

Weeks: We constructed an answer to take away the 2 principal obstacles to appointments—entry to transportation and interpretation—via a community that gives entry to a market of protected, dependable drivers and interpreters, which improves care, offers predictable costs and timing, and will increase income. We constructed it, after which COVID-19 validated our imaginative and prescient; cancellations are much more damaging on this local weather, when healthcare employees and sufferers get sick and when suppliers expertise heightened turnover. Cancellations simply price an excessive amount of.

Pliska: A dedication to healthcare fairness additionally appears deeply embedded on this work.

Weeks: Sure. There are whole communities of unseen folks, for whom a easy resolution can positively impression their lives. The pandemic revealed a lot about well being inequities in rural communities and communities of shade. We have all seen the disproportionate impression on these communities, and the infrastructure meant to guarantee entry to care is damaged or non-existent. The pandemic has compelled disruption in healthcare and addressing these inequities ought to be no exception. The rationale I like my job a lot is as a result of I can have optimistic impression on folks, whereas contributing to options to this healthcare downside, and concurrently rising a profitable enterprise.

Pliska: What’s forward for MedTrans Go?

Weeks: We’re in 10 states and seeing good progress with solo-practitioners and smaller healthcare settings. Our subsequent stage is capitalizing on the demand amongst hospitals and bigger well being techniques that acknowledge the necessity to associate with corporations like MedTrans Go to ship higher care. That is at all times been our imaginative and prescient, however the alternative has come to us sooner than we anticipated. We’re excited to satisfy the wants of the second.

Pliska: An entrepreneur’s life is all-in and also you’re a spouse and a mom, too. However you are additionally on Boards and committees at dwelling in Atlanta and elsewhere—at international various asset supervisor Blue Owl, your alma maters, and different organizations. What you get out of those experiences? Aren’t you exhausted?!

Weeks: Truly, the alternative. I preserve commitments on my plate that give me vitality. There’s a lot to study and so many good folks to study from, whether or not a CEO, pupil, or neighborhood member. That richness feeds my soul and helps me be a greater individual, mom, boss, coworker. I’m grateful for the variety of experiences, someday being in a finance setting at Blue Owl, the subsequent advocating for Black and brown households with Jack and Jill of America, and the subsequent speaking methods and options as a Trustee at a Westminster Board assembly or on an alumni committee at Stanford. Healthcare, schooling, and neighborhood improvement give me objective.

Pliska: So it doesn’t put an excessive amount of strain in your day job?

Weeks: On the contrary, it’s why I like being an entrepreneur: It offers me the prospect to have interaction in my neighborhood and have my neighborhood interact in what I do. One reaffirms the opposite. My job isn’t just the place I present as much as day-after-day; it’s how I present up in my neighborhood, and for my group, pals, household, and myself. I imagine in exhibiting up, talking up and getting the work executed.

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