We chatted with Dr. Manju Dawkins, as she joined our Facebook group, Doctor Side Ventures, and introduced herself to our physician crowd, in order to network with other doctors doing the same.
So we reached out, to find out more about this dermatologist’s entrepreneurial spirit.. and product!
Tell us about your entrepreneurial venture.
When you say “we launched,” is it a team that you’re working with?
What is Thimble?
Thimble is a comprehensive platform to lessen needle pain and anxiety- before, during, and after procedures.
And we tackle the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of needle aversion.
Is the patch used before the procedure itself, or after?
The Recover patch is used after needle procedure and is formulated with turmeric and arnica to alleviate the soreness and swelling that often follow. In a few months, we will be launching the Thimble Prepare Patch. It’s specifically designed and formulated with lidocaine and is applied before the injection. We also have an app that puts together the research backed techniques to mitigate the stress of needles.
How does it compare to EMLA?
Why did your team choose to use turmeric in the formulation?
Our first product, the Recover patch, just launched for sale on our ecommerce site.
I developed it with turmeric and arnica because both of these ingredients are widely known to reduce inflammation and tenderness and lessen pain and swelling respectively.
I think our training in medicine sometimes limits us to believe that only pharmaceuticals can have efficacy.
Many pharmaceuticals have plant origins. And anyone who has had poison ivy knows that plants pack plenty of power. I believe we should integrate what works.
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What inspired you to come up with this product?
As a physician, I was familiar with needle pain. But as a mom, it took on a whole new meaning.
When I brought my older daughter in for her first shots, the look of fear and betrayal on her face hit hard.
After that, I used prescription numbing creams and my training in dermatology to administer them properly, but even then, it was far from a perfect solution. For my children, patients, and fellow practitioners, untreated pain was accepted as part of the care process.
I was struck by how widespread needle fear was in adults and children—and just how few options there were to address it. It’s an issue that impacts millions, yet the solutions were limited and inaccessible to most people.
What are your hopes for the Thimble? Where do you envision it in 10 years?
I hope to create a new standard of care for needle procedures. Pain management around needle procedures will allow more people to engage with health care resulting in a healthier population.
I also hope that Thimble can be a small part of mending the fractured relationship between doctors and patients. We care deeply about our patients – but we have less and less time to show it. I hope Thimble can be a small offering of compassion that we give our patients to show that we see them, hear them, and feel their pain.
What is a pitfall to avoid, from your experience, to others who wish to create products?
Don’t let fear get in your way.
Learn to manage your own self-doubt.
In medicine, we are rightfully taught to think about the worst case scenarios.
On the other hand, entrepreneurship is an opportunity to think about all the wonderful possibilities.
Once fear is better regulated, the rest will come naturally.
Do you feel that becoming an entrepreneur as a physician enriches your career? In what ways, of so?
Entrepreneurship is an expansive and humbling endeavor. It demands personal growth.
This journey has actually rekindled my love of the practice of medicine.
It is a privilege and honor to be able to help others.
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We recently published an article asking whether the business of medicine should be integrated into medical school curriculum? What are your thoughts?
Medical Education needs to be broadened, period. In its current form, it keeps physicians small and limits their potential for impact.
Terminal degrees should be preparing the student to function in the real world.
Medical school must include education about business, insurance, government, advocacy, innovation, and beyond.
Medical Education needs to be broadened, period. In its current form, it keeps physicians small and limits their potential for impact. Click To Tweet
You’re a member of our FB group Doctors side Ventures. What do you wish to see there?
I hope we can all lift each other up as we climb.
What are the marketing plans for your patch?
We intend to create awareness on social media and have launched sales on our site.
We have started a blog where we invite people to share their medical experiences (nearly all of which involve needles) We want to validate this issue and give people a space to share and create more understanding.
I’d really love to sample to doctor’s offices as well.
I want those in the trenches of medicine to feel the joy of relieving suffering in the moment.
What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
Admittedly, I am a social media newbie. But I recognize its importance in creating awareness about the problem of needle aversion and the fact that solutions exist.
LinkedIn is probably where I am most comfortable. I am learning more and more about instagram. And I know TikTok will be really important for our success.
I am looking forward to learning from you all!