ESTEEM Student Startup: Navahealth

Author: Valeria Gonzalez

Mikaela Saugstad, Isabella Martinez, Melissa ConnollyMikaela Saugstad, Isabella Martinez, Melissa Connolly

ESTEEM students were challenged with taking on a problem that people face and through customer interviews creating a business model from the solution. Six weeks and 160 interviews later, Melissa Connolly, Isabella Martinez, Marissa Koscielski, and Mikaela Saugstad discovered that there was a big problem within the healthcare ecosystem since 90% of ER visits are classified as primary care. This inspired the creation of Navahealth, an organization that aims to facilitate a longitudinal relationship between low socioeconomic patients and primary care physicians.

Healthcare is a difficult business to enter due to numerous regulations and the hesitation for people to want to take on new programs as pilots. However, these women have received tremendous support from the Notre Dame network to push this idea forward, including help from the IDEA Center and alumni.

ESTEEM courses have instilled in the women to take a customer centered approach and to use key performance indicators within the organization. They have a good understanding of their different customer segments and how to fit the needs of each segment.

Connolly encapsulates their mission as being “improving overall community health and helping patients better manage chronic diseases.” Koscielski added that they are also “trying to embrace the individuals who fall through the cracks of society and are extremely vulnerable. Our mission lies in giving dignity to every person and we are starting with these patients.”

Connolly encourages entrepreneurs to be passionate about their venture and let this guide the time and effort you put into the project, regardless of the resources available. Currently the women are part of the McCloskey Business Competition at Notre Dame and are courting hospitals to set up a pilot.