In the dynamic world of healthcare and business, few shine as brightly as Dr. Aakanksha Gupta. Born in October 1994 into a family of pioneering entrepreneurs, Dr. Gupta has seamlessly blended her passion for medicine and business acumen into a career that transcends conventional boundaries. With a prestigious MBBS degree from Maharishi Markandeshwar University and a postgraduate degree in Healthcare from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, she stands at the forefront of innovation in her field.
Currently, she serves as the Director at Must & More, Delhi’s largest diagnostic center, and holds the position of Vice President (Media and Communications) at S.K. Educations Pvt. Ltd. Her advocacy for preventive health and disability awareness is not just a profession but a personal mission, deeply influenced by her parents, Ajay and Deepshikha Gupta. Both individuals with disabilities, they founded the expansive network of Bachpan Play Schools and Academic Heights Public Schools, instilling in her a fierce spirit and dedication to spreading quality education across India.
From a young age, Dr. Gupta was actively involved in the family business, taking on responsibilities that shaped her understanding of entrepreneurship and social responsibility. Her efforts have been instrumental in integrating preventive healthcare concepts into school curricula, a testament to her belief in the power of education as a tool for societal change.
As an author, her “First Aid Handbook” for school teachers is a critical resource in empowering educators to handle emergencies effectively. Her entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t stop there; she is also at the helm of an ambitious startup focused on reproductive health education, challenging and dispelling prevalent misconceptions.
What truly sets Dr. Aakanksha Gupta apart is not just her impressive list of accolades and roles but her unwavering commitment to her goals at the young age of 29. Her journey is a beacon of women’s empowerment and an inspiration to many, proving that age and gender are mere numbers when it comes to making a significant impact in the worlds of healthcare, business, and social awareness.
In this exclusive interview with Dr. Aakanksha Gupta, we learn more about – how technology is transforming healthcare education.
1. Mental health is a growing concern among Gen Z. How can technology, such as mental health apps or virtual support platforms, be integrated into preventive healthcare initiatives to address the mental well-being of students?
Technology is, no doubt, a great tool to provide every individual with personalized solutions in different areas of life, but its role in addressing the mental well-being of students is quite unprecedented. How mental health apps or virtual support platforms facilitate counseling, mood tracking, and mindfulness exercises, nurturing self-awareness in the process, is incredibly remarkable. So, I think that meaningful collaborations between educational institutions, healthcare professionals, and tech developers should be fostered, rather they are needed, to integrate such technologies into preventive healthcare initiatives meant for the mental well-being of students.
2. How can accessibility technologies, such as assistive devices and inclusive user interfaces, be integrated into healthcare services to cater to individuals with disabilities effectively?
To provide individuals with disabilities with equitable care and enhance their active engagement, we do need to integrate accessibility technologies, such as assistive devices and inclusive user interfaces, into healthcare services, but how it is to be done is a complex process altogether. You see, medical information systems, electronic health records, telehealth platforms, and, in essence, healthcare services will have to incorporate features such as voice recognition, screen readers, and even physical accommodations to foster accessibility. Moreover, clinicians also will have to be trained in using such aids and adapting their practices. It is all going to be an intricate process, but certainly a rewarding one.
3. What role do you see educational technology (EdTech) playing in enhancing healthcare education within schools, and are there specific EdTech tools or platforms you find particularly promising?
According to me, EdTech is like a transformative force when it comes to healthcare education within schools. Since it makes immersive and dynamic learning experiences possible through virtual reality modules, interactive simulations, and such, EdTech becomes quite promising in the way it empowers and engages students with realistic medical scenarios, transcending any geographical constraints that there may be and making healthcare education accessible. That said, I find EdTech tools and platforms such as ‘‘Complete Anatomy” really worthwhile. Then, there are, of course, AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and LMS (Learning Management System), which we also use at our Bachpan and AHPS schools.
4. In the context of remote and hybrid learning environments, how can technology be leveraged to remotely monitor the health and well-being of students, especially focusing on preventive measures?
To achieve this objective, in my opinion, it is crucial to incorporate into our preventive measures—wearable devices and health-tracking applications that can keep a check on the physical activity of students, their stress levels, and their sleep patterns, and detect any potential health concerns well in advance. Educational platforms and telehealth solutions (including chatbots and remote health screenings) that foster awareness about healthy lifestyle choices and ensure easy access to quality healthcare services are also bound to serve a useful purpose. Educational institutions, therefore, just need to be proactive in their approach to using technology for the health and well-being of students.
5. Teachers play a crucial role in student well-being. How can technology be harnessed to provide mental health support specifically tailored for teachers, considering the unique stressors they face?
Just as technology acts as a transformative force in the context of students’ health and overall well-being, it can also act as a transformative force in ensuring the mental well-being of teachers. For this, virtual health platforms (carrying stress management resources and mindfulness exercises), AI-driven tools (providing them with personalized insights), and online communities and forums (fostering peer support) are some of how technology can be harnessed to provide tailored mental health support for teachers. It’s important to remember that a supportive ecosystem for teachers, in turn, ensures a more positive influence on students.
6. How can mobile health apps and other digital tools be utilized to engage communities and provide ongoing support, fostering a continuous dialogue around health?
Mobile health apps and other digital tools are a great way to sustain an ongoing dialogue around health, as they can provide real-time health information, personalized wellness plans, and interactive forums that have the power to facilitate healthy behaviors. That said, I think that gamification elements and community-driven content have more power to encourage user engagement and amplify the reach of educational initiatives and health campaigns. In one line, this all calls for an interconnected health ecosystem.