Entrepreneur, Researcher, Med Student, and...
Andrey Ostrovsky (CAS’06, MED’11) is an achiever in overdrive| From Alumni Notes | By Susan Seligson
MED student Andrey Ostrovsky has a consuming interest in “big-picture health.”
Since 2006, Andrey Ostrovsky has started a thriving business, developed a new way to measure infant brain volume as a clinical research fellow at the Doris Duke Foundation, volunteered as a Russian language interpreter, interned at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and served on the Massachusetts Medical Society’s maternal and perinatal welfare committee. The College of Arts & Sciences grad also entered the BU School of Medicine.
He was just getting warmed up.
Last fall, working as a policy analyst intern, Ostrovsky (CAS’06, MED’11) built the first Web-based evaluation system for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In January, the new measurement system, called a health-care report card, was approved and codified under San Francisco law. Now handed over to codirector Abbie Yant, vice president of San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Hospital, the report card has been funded for another year by the Hospital Council of California. “This ensures that my baby, the report card, gets to be at least two years old,” says Ostrovsky.
When the Web site, designed by Ostrovsky, goes up in the fall, it will not only detail the status of all programs and institutions involved in health care and disease prevention, but also will offer one-stop shopping for collaborations among San Francisco’s public and private agencies, hospitals, nonprofit foundations, researchers, lawmakers, and consumers.
Ostrovsky hopes the site will offer an efficient, streamlined alternative to hours of surfing cluttered public sites or having to “know somebody who knows somebody” to get a partnership off the ground.
At twenty-six, the Ukrainian-born Ostrovsky is an achiever in overdrive, and he likes his challenges outsized. With a consuming interest in what he calls “big-picture health,” he put out feelers in March 2009 to see how he could become involved in health-care policy in San Francisco, where he’d be working as a Duke Foundation fellow.
He sent some of his ideas to San Francisco health commissioner Mitchell Katz, a West Coast leader in health-care access, and got a response from Anne Kronenberg, a public health official who was the late Harvey Milk’s campaign manager.
When Ostrovsky first approached officials at the San Francisco health department, there was no tool for evaluating their system and no one vehicle whereby public and private health-care groups could consult, collaborate, and pool resources.
Ostrovsky began researching large urban health departments, focusing on New York City, and also interviewed San Francisco health providers and administrators about what could be improved.
At this early stage Ostrovsky often consulted a business advisor: his father, the founder of a successful computer network company. “Any time I have a strategic question I go to him,” he says. His father has a hand in Andrey’s premed consulting company, Future MD, which offers classroom instruction and one-on-one tutoring. “I’m looking to sell the company. I like bringing things to market,” says Ostrovsky, who cut his business teeth selling bootleg CDs at his Baltimore middle school.
In a way, Ostrovsky’s task required him to bring the health report card to market, too. There were lots of meetings, and as the report card Web site edged toward completion, he passed the reins over to the people who’d be reaping the benefits: community organizations, nonprofits, research departments at teaching hospitals, physicians, public health officers, and dentists — anyone providing any piece of health care. Ostrovsky envisioned a Craigslist-style feature that would allow people in different fields to search posts for potential collaborations among, for example, a medical research department, a nonprofit that fights Parkinson’s disease, and a community group for Parkinson’s patients. There’s a calendar of events, links to educational resources and to statistics, and a real-time discussion forum. As the Web site matures, it will have links to hospital evaluations, both internal and external.
And after he graduates from medical school? “This fellowship year has flipped my perspective of career options upside down,” Ostrovsky says. “I would love to follow in Mitch’s footsteps and be a health commissioner. I’d love to start a company that streamlines how public health operates. I’d love to do a lot of other things.”