Medscape at 25: Recognizing Medicine's Rising Stars

Becky Lang


December 07, 2020

Bhavya Rehani, MD, is an assistant professor in residence at UCSF and cofounded the global health nonprofit Health4theWorld, which provides education and technology resources in 80 countries. She has done research on neuroimaging for patients with advanced HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia, and worked in polio treatment camps in India.

As president and CEO of a global health nonprofit with healthcare providers working in 110 countries, Bhavya Rehani, MD, had to adapt to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, and fast.

Rehani, who started the nonprofit Health4theWorld in 2014 after completing her residency in neuroradiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, hustled to scale up how the organization delivers medical education and technology offerings to thousands of people around the world.

"During COVID, the whole world has struggled with [the question], how do we do this?" says Rehani, from her base at University of California, San Francisco. Her group of nearly 80 people had to figure things out on the fly as well.

Health4theWorld's educational technology offerings became even more important to continue their work when team physicians placed around the world to lead free training programs for healthcare providers had to return to the United States because of the pandemic.

"All of us have a limited ability to travel; that's where the technology helps us," she says.

One of Health4theWorld's offerings is an app for patients with stroke who may not have access to physicians. The app includes a speech machine to help patients with aphasia communicate with family members, instructions for personalizable rehab exercises, and educational information about stroke prevention.

The nonprofit has also developed chatbots to help educate health workers who may not have medical training. If a patient arrives in the clinic with chest pain or back pain, for example, the chatbot's series of questions can help guide providers through their assessment and suggest treatment options.

Rehani has built a growing team of volunteers, with nearly 100 physicians in the United States from 25 academic institutions involved in Health4theWorld's medical education. Many others have pitched in during the pandemic as the organization has shifted to distributing personal protective equipment, including 3D-printed face shields for physicians in Africa.

"I'm hoping to take this to more countries, and more places in countries," Rehani says. "I'd like to help as many people as possible."

As part of Medscape's celebration of our 25th anniversary this year, we're recognizing 25 young physicians who are rising stars in medicine, poised to become future leaders of their fields. View the full list here.


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