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Securing a Platform for Healthcare Innovation

The PennHealthX innovation program serves as a launchpad for students in the Perelman School of Medicine, supporting innovative ideas in health care and opportunities for professional development. Now, a generous gift has secured the future of this program for years to come.

In November, Roderick Wong, M’03, endowed the PennHealthX program with a $6 million donation, one of the largest single gifts to support the medical curriculum at the Perelman School of Medicine. The gift will provide funding for this student-led organization, which focuses on student certification, venture investment, and events dedicated to learning and networking. It will also create a unique scholarship to support medical students who are pursuing a dual-degree MD/MBA at Penn’s Wharton School of Business.

Roderick Wong, M’03, signed the gift agreement alongside Penn President Amy Gutmann, Perelman School of Medicine Dean J. Larry Jameson (not pictured), and others during a ceremony at Penn Medicine’s Smilow Research Center. Photo by Daniel Burke Photography.

Established in 2013, PennHealthX has grown into a nationally recognized program that connects students with interdisciplinary lectures, workshops, and competitions across campus. Today, the program is fully integrated into the medical school curriculum, and awards a Certificate in Healthcare Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology to graduating students who meet program requirements and who demonstrate a sustained interest in health care innovation.

PennHealthX exemplifies how our students pursue interdisciplinary learning. Knowing that the next generation of health care leaders must be prepared in both the practice and the business of medicine, they are taking the lead in helping create a healthier society. Their actions demonstrate how they are ready to be the health care leaders of tomorrow.”PENN PRESIDENT AMY GUTMANN

Dr. Wong has championed this program since its infancy, after recognizing the exciting potential of its innovative approach. Before making his most recent gift, Dr. Wong provided $1.6 million in funding for the program through a series of donations beginning in 2014.

That donation allowed the burgeoning program to dramatically expand its reach. A recent survey of Perelman School of Medicine students found that nearly 80% had attended at least one PennHealthX event; furthermore, nearly one in four students cited PennHealthX as a factor in their decision to choose Penn over other academic options. Beyond offering in-person opportunities for engagement, such as an annual conference, affiliated students have also launched a podcast and blog to further advance the program’s mission.

“The program embodies the values that paved the way for me to find my own career path,” Dr. Wong said. “I’m simply excited for PennHealthX to be one enduring platform that gives students the ability to shape their own education and potentially impact medicine early in their careers.”

Dr. Wong’s support aligns with key priorities of The Power of Penn Campaign to drive innovation and revolutionize health. In recognition of his recent gift and his continued contributions to its success, the program has been renamed the Roderick T. Wong PennHealthX Program.