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Dr. Sophia Yen

Dr. Sophia Yen is building the ONLY Doctor-Led, Women-Founded/Led birth control delivery company.

health innovator series: Dr. Sophia Yen
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title and specialty

CEO/Co-Founder of Pandia Health, The ONLY #DoctorLed, #WomenFounded/Led birth control delivery company. Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford Medical School, Dept of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine

innovation project and tagline

a. Pandia Health, we are building the Brand Women Trust with Their Health, starting with birth control. We bring birth control to women wherever you have internet and a mailbox. b. #PeriodsOptional, educating anyone with a uterus who is bleeding 1 week out of 4, that you don’t have to bleed. How to decrease cancer, improve productivity, decrease landfill. My TEDxBerkeley talk is linked on the bottom of this page and is on the science and safety of #SkippingPeriods with medication.

problem your innovation solves

a. “pill anxiety” the fear of running out of birth control pills, patches, ring. The underlying, subliminal stress that affects anyone on these birth control methods, every month, for 20-30 years of their lives. b. by having fewer periods, women will decrease their risk of endometrial, ovarian, colorectal cancer. they will decrease landfill (we use 10,000-13,000 menstrual products in our lives), increase work/school productivity (the number one cause of missed work/school under the age of 25? menstruation related issues)

intended target audience/user of your innovation

a. any heterosexual with a uterus that wants to avoid pregnancy from ages 15-55. b. anyone with a uterus from age 14-55.

interesting experience while developing your innovation

I co-founded Pandia Health because I was giving a talk to a group of physicians on “why don’t women take their birth control?” One of the top reasons was they didn’t have it on hand. My friend and I figured we could solve that by shipping the medication to women. Because we are doctor-founded, we work well with doctors. We don’t force our customers to use our doctors for the prescription if they already have a prescription. We are perfectly happy to have their doctor write the prescription and we just do the delivery. We just want to make sure that no one runs out of birth control on our watch and we’re here to make women’s lives better. For #PeriodsOptional, I was trying to get pregnant with my first child in 2006 and had been on the birth control pill with light periods prior to that. I was trying to game a daughter vs. a son, but after 3 normal periods, I decided, “This is way too much blood. How do women deal? Just get me pregnant! I don’t care about the gender of the baby.” I realized the only reason those of us bleed each month: we didn’t get pregnant. We build the lining to accept an embryo, no embryo? then bleed. We don’t need to do this building and bleeding unless we want to get pregnant. Then I read Malcolm Gladwell’s article “John Rock’s error,” which covered Dr. Beverly Straussman’s work studying the Dogon tribe in Mali. They only have 100 periods in their lives. In industrialized countries we have 350-400 periods in our lives.

mistakes/hurdles along the way

Get everything in writing. Even then, people can pressure you to give up your rights. So, don’t rush into any agreements. Take the time to consult your lawyer, family, etc. Ask for help. You’d be surprised how many people want to help you and make introductions. Build your support network: founders, friends, investors. I’m thankful for the support of: my family, my extended family who have invested in Pandia Health, my friends, my investors (Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures, Matthew Gould of Allectus Capital), startup accelerators (Springboard Enterprises, Women’s Startup Lab, Stanford StartX, SheEO), startup communities (AllRaise, FFC, Asian Hustle Network, The Fourth Floor).

typical day in your life

It’s different everyday. Start with answering emails. Check patient roster. Write birth control prescriptions. Answer patient concerns about their medications. Team meeting midday.  Social media (twitter/instagram) Write blog or answer media requests. Do FBlive.

someone who inspires you

All the women entrepreneurs that have done well (Spanx CEO/founder Sarah Blakely, Stitch Fix CEO/founder Katrina Lake) and specifically Kara Goldin of Hint Water . She saw a problem, she went out to solve it. Also, recently inspired by Christina Stembel of Farmgirl Flowers.

parting words of wisdom

Do something you are passionate about!
Season 2 is getting built:

Are you an innovator?

Innovator Bio

Sophia Yen, M.D., M.P.H. is the CEO/Co-Founder of PandiaHealth.com, birth control delivery,  a digital health company providing convenient, confidential, and reliable access to healthcare via telemedicine and medication delivery, starting with birth control. She has a passion for making women’s lives easier and preventing unplanned pregnancies. She co-founded Pandia Health because she believes no one should suffer from “pill anxiety” – the fear of running out of birth control and the stress of having to obtain birth control each month. Dr. Yen enjoys educating the public and physicians about birth control, menstrual regulation/elimination a.k.a. #PeriodsOptional, acne, obesity, and other Young Adult health issues. Dr. Yen graduated from MIT,  UCSF Medical School, and UC Berkeley’s MPH program. With 20+ years in medicine, she serves as a Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford Medical School and on the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics’s Section On Adolescent Health. She focuses on Reproductive Health and co-founded 3 non-profit projects to improve the lives of women: The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women, SheHeroes.org, and fffl.co (Female Founded, Female Led, B2C awareness campaign, by from a FFFL!)
health innovator series: Pandia Health, The ONLY Doctor-Led, Women-Founded/Led birth control delivery company: Dr. Sophia Yen.

About this series.

The Health Innovators series features physicians who think outside the box, push past healthcare “comfort zones,” and take a chance on their ideas.

The world needs more healthcare innovators.

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