Joint-Degree Student Roma Patel (’15) Wins Mayo Clinic Innovation Award
Roma Patel, who is on track to receive both a J.D. and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Minnesota in 2015, has won a Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation CoDE Award. She will receive $50,000 in funding, access to Mayo’s enormous resources, and the services of a production team, and over the coming year she will create a video series intended to use the power of storytelling to help patients from diverse backgrounds better understand their illnesses and their health-care options.
Through the CoDE (“Connect-Design-Enable”) program, Mayo invites employees to submit ideas for projects that can “transform the delivery and experience of health care.” Patel, who has been working as a law clerk in Mayo Clinic’s legal department, pitched her idea for “patient experience narratives”—video vignettes that would candidly profile real patients dealing with such common health problems as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, depression—designed to play in physicians’ waiting rooms. Patel’s videos will not be “informational” in the stiff, talking-head, easy-to-ignore style of much doctor’s-office programming. Rather, they are intended to be involving, empathic, driven by the power of personal narrative to, in Patel’s words, “help patients from a wide variety of demographic backgrounds feel engaged, understood, informed, and prepared to successfully manage their health.”
“I have one year to guide the project from an idea into a real thing,” Patel said. “I’ll be doing this while completing my last year of law school and my master’s degree, so it will be a little crazy but absolutely worth the lack of sleep and a social life. This is a chance to do something that will impact a wide number of patients.”