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Avanti Birla, C’10

Founder of CK Birla Hospital for Women

Delhi, India

Economics Major

The reason I wanted to go to Penn and study in America was that you get to do a breadth of different classes at such a high standard. I did photography, healthcare management, economics, and cinema studies. It opens up your mind to able to think on the spot. At the time, you’re sort of thinking, why am I doing this? Where’s it really going to take me? But it was literally the most incredible thing. The ability to learn from feedback was something that started at Penn.

I developed a real passion to set up a hospital for women, so I spent a couple of years exploring various locations, meeting lots of people—including at Penn Medicine—and picking up various protocols and things that I wanted to bring to India.

I developed a real passion to set up a hospital for women, so I spent a couple of years exploring various locations, meeting lots of people—including at Penn Medicine—and picking up various protocols and things that I wanted to bring to India. One of the most important ideas for me was that this hospital be a one-stop-shop where we were able to offer a patient experience at an international standard.

Our team is made up of people with different talent backgrounds, from the healthcare administration space to the management space. I like that we’ve got people wearing different hats coming in together because I think that’s what has actually helped make this whole venture what it is. At a typical morning meeting we go over various administrative issues and various things going on in the hospital. I spend time with different people across various functions at the hospital, checking in at a more strategic level and tracking mechanisms to see who are the people coming in, what kind of surgeries are happening, and other details.

India has a lot of what I call important-person-syndrome, and so one thing I was very clear on was I wanted everyone to be treated the same way. It sounds like such a basic thing, but it doesn’t always happen. It’s been very touching to hear from the patients when they say they appreciate the clinical care and they appreciate the attention to detail when it comes to basic things like hand hygiene and doctors and nurses actually listening to them and genuinely looking after them without the patient ever having to feel like they’re being fleeced. It’s an incredibly humbling experience. — November 23, 2019 • Photo by Brooke Sietinsons