Needle Pain Innovation with Tumeric: Dr. Manju Dawkins

Innovating for Needle Pain with Tumeric: Dr. Manju Dawkins
Dr. Manju Dawkins is taking on entrepreneurship, turmeric, and the field of needle-pain innovation, and telling us about it.

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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.

We’re on a mission to make needle procedures more comfortable (for patients, caregivers, AND healthcare personnel!) and empower people to get the healthcare they need.
We recently launched the Recover patch with turmeric and arnica to reduce soreness, bruising and swelling from needles.

When you say “we launched,” is it a team that you’re working with?

I’m the creator and co-founder of Thimble. We have assembled a fabulous team (product designer, regulatory team, creative director, marketing director, and of course many lawyers.) This labor of love has taken years and I would love the opportunity to tell you more!

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?

It requires a prescription limiting access for patients. Everything we create is available without a prescription. Emla can be messy and hard to patients to use. And it takes 2 to 3 hours to reach Max efficacy . Saran wrap is tough and tegaderms are pricey. Ours is a drug in adhesive patch Making it mess free. And lower risk of methemoglobinemia!


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.


Innovating for Needle Pain with Tumeric: Dr. Manju Dawkins
The Recover patch in use after a flu shot.


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.


"I was struck by how widespread needle fear was in adults and children."


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.


Innovating for Needle Pain with Tumeric: Dr. Manju Dawkins
The California Surgeon General, Dr. Diana Ramos learns about Thimble from Dr. Dawkins.


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.


(NEW interactive group)
Doctor Side Ventures

Doctors today are doing SO MANY things on the side. Join an exclusive Facebook community (for medical docs, dentists, podiatrists) to discuss everything from publishing, to real estate, to ways we build wealth or satisfy our extracurricular needs (& stay happy).


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.


Innovating for Needle Pain with Tumeric: Dr. Manju Dawkins
Thimble took home the Grand Prize at American Academy of Pain Medicine x MIT Hacking Medicine Innovation Challenge (https://aapmannualmeeting.com/innovation-challenge/)  in March of 2023


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!

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.


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