Bianca Fox was expecting to go to medical school when she majored in Science-Business as a Notre Dame undergraduate, but by graduation she was seeking other avenues for a science and health care career. An internship with Cardinal Health convinced her that she should gain more business education and experience, so she joined ESTEEM in 2013, where her capstone thesis involved working with the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases on a database designed to advance treatment for such diseases.
Fox also interned with enFocus, a well-established link between ESTEEM and the South Bend community, and worked for the organization for two years after she finished her master’s degree.
“I worked on a number of projects – I was one of the main health care people,” she said, listing Healthy Points, mobile integrated health, and an initiative last year to conduct data analysis for local hospitals’ community health needs assessments in order to evaluate programs they fund. She also worked with the South Bend Police Department on the Group Violence Intervention initiative. In her second year, Fox was operations manager for enFocus, responsible for such issues as accounting and compliance.
“I was evaluating what I wanted to do next and was still feeling this pull to be in medicine as a clinician,” she says. Last fall, Fox moved to Duke University for a three-year program to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree for a health services career that will leverage her education, experience, and network.
“ESTEEM and enFocus have taught me how to take technical concepts and explain them to variety of audiences and to question how to improve a current product, process, etc. – skills I will definitely be using for the entirety of my future career as a PT so as to provide the best possible service to patients,” she says. “I do also hope to one day either manage and/or own, depending on whether I work in outpatient v. inpatient, a PT clinic, which will require me to draw upon a lot of what I learned at ESTEEM and enFocus.”
In addition to the technical expertise, Fox says ESTEEM instilled values that heighten her entrepreneurial mindset, including the “fail early, fail often” motto that provides a positive perspective to facing challenges. “I think that has been a good guiding message for me, especially this past year and a half when I was evaluating what I wanted to do with my life” she says. “I’ve always had a desire to help others, which attracted me to social entrepreneurship while in ESTEEM and at enFocus, and which is partly why I’m back in school for PT.”