This is part of series of posts by recipients of the 2020 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Tanvi Kongara, WH ’23
This summer, I had the opportunity to pursue my interests in healthcare economics and nonprofit marketing as a Social Impact Intern for Reboot Rx. I am so grateful that I was able to take advantage of this opportunity through a summer funding award from Penn’s Career Services. Reboot Rx is a nonprofit startup using AI and machine learning to identify the most promising drugs to repurpose for cancer treatments. I saw Reboot Rx’s listing on Handshake, and I was excited to see there was a social impact organization that brings affordable cancer treatments to patients faster by repurposing non-cancer generic drugs. However, without Penn’s Career Services external funding, this unpaid nonprofit internship would have otherwise been inaccessible.
During my time at Reboot Rx, I had the opportunity to work on diverse projects: developing the organization’s general digital marketing strategy, creating a social media strategy for their Reboot: COVID-Cancer Project, assisting in the launch of the organization’s new name, and creating a pitch presentation for Social Impact Bond financing as a funding model for clinical trials with repurposed drugs. As someone interested in healthcare economics and healthcare policy to reduce the inefficiencies in our healthcare system, this internship at Reboot Rx provided the perfect learning opportunity to understand how to improve the quality of healthcare services and financing through repurposing off-patent drugs. I worked on promoting awareness about repurposed drugs as affordable, effective treatment options while also researching new financing models to close the funding gap barrier that prevents repurposed drugs from being integrated into the standard of care.
My two main projects enabled me to put my current marketing skills to use to help Reboot Rx while also acquiring real-world experience related to my economics major. By developing a digital marketing strategy, I was able to learn how to create and implement new strategies to raise awareness about Reboot Rx, while also disseminating more information on the success of re-purposing off-patent drugs. Reboot Rx’s work is timely since there are many repurposed drugs currently being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19, and their Reboot: COVID-Cancer Project provides crucial insights so that researchers and physicians can quickly find and review data on COVID-19 and cancer.
Furthermore, I helped develop a framework for outcomes-based financing to incentivize investment in Phase III clinical trials testing repurposed drugs. Very limited funding currently exists for these trials. I learned more about Social Impact Bonds and how this innovative financing model could close the funding gap for repurposed generic drugs to get definitive clinical testing. The goal of the project was to incentivize potential impact investors and healthcare payers to invest in definitive clinical trials for repurposed drugs, and my research was used to engage stakeholders.
Although my summer internship with Reboot Rx was completely remote, the Reboot Rx leadership team went the extra mile to provide enriching experiences for the interns. The best part about working at Reboot Rx this summer was the opportunity I had to learn about other interns’ projects, listen in on career panels, and even collaborate with other non-profit organizations. Reboot Rx exposed me to so many amazing experiences and people, which further ignited my professional aspirations of intersecting healthcare economics with patient care.