Emerging Health Leaders: Shantanu Nundy, M.D., MBA, Chief Medical Officer of Accolade

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MHE Publication, MHE October 2021, Volume 3, Issue 10

Shantanu Nundy is one of 13 up-and-coming health leaders featured in this annual Managed Healthcare Executive series.

Shantanu Nundy, M.D., MBA, chief medical officer at Accolade in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania

I was born in Canada but largely grew up in the Washington, D.C., metro area. I earned a B.S. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I completed my medical residency and fellowship in health disparities at the University of Chicago.

Previously, I served as a senior health specialist at the World Bank Group in its Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, where we advised developing countries across Africa, Asia and South America on health system innovation and technology. I served as the director of The Human Diagnosis Project, which we successfully built into the world’s largest open medical project spanning 80 countries. Prior to that, I was managing director for clinical innovation at Evolent Health, where we launched value-based care models and accountable care organizations around the country.

Who has had the largest influence on your life?

My mom. When I was in middle school, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which she struggled to manage for many years. Whenever I think about building innovative solutions for healthcare, I think about whether it would work for her.

Why did you pursue a career in healthcare?

When I was a college freshman, I taught English in a small village in India where my aunt ran a school and anti-poverty program. The first day I stood in front of the classroom, I was taken aback by the students’ health. Most had runny noses and many had open sores. I couldn’t understand how anyone could learn while sick.

The next week I found a local doctor who, to my delight, agreed to come to the school and examine all of the children for free. He prescribed preventive medications and supplements for many of them. Over the next three years, with support from MIT, we built a school-based clinic and public health program that still exists today, 20 years later.

The experience was exhilarating. It cemented my desire to serve individual patients as a physician and to scale access to high-quality healthcare as an entrepreneur.

Which career accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?

I’m most proud of creating multiple new organizations and solutions from scratch and taking them to a point where they demonstrate clinical impact and have a pathway to sustainability. Healthcare is in urgent need of reinvention.

What has your organization’s role been in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines?

Accolade provides personalized advocacy and healthcare services to more than 8 million working Americans and families through their employers. As a trusted partner to employers and families, we have sent evidence-based communications and email campaigns on the vaccine, hosted dozens of expert webinars, and directly provided nurse education and navigation on COVID-19 and the vaccine to Americans nationwide.

What would be the best way to reduce healthcare inequities in the U.S.?

Healthcare needs to meet people where they are physically and emotionally. Many vulnerable health populations either don’t have access to care or don’t trust their care options. To reduce healthcare inequities, healthcare needs to become distributed. Care needs to start at home and in the community at places such as churches and barbershops to meet
patients where they are and in contexts they trust.

Name a book or article that everyone in healthcare should read.

I just published a book with McGraw Hill on where healthcare needs to go, post-pandemic, titled, “Care After COVID: What the Pandemic Revealed About What Is Broken in Healthcare and How to Reinvent It.”