FIRST THOUGHT: The Picture of Health
As I’m chatting with you this morning, I’m sitting in the doctor’s waiting room on a sage-green pleather chair. We’ve all been here, right? We wait patiently for our names to be called, perusing old magazine issues or scrolling through our phones in the meantime. Today, I did something different. I looked around, not at the neutral art on the wall, but at people. Every person who walked in was different than me: a mother with a 10-year-old daughter, a son assisting his elderly father in a walker, a guy who couldn’t stop sighing. I guess today has reminded me that health issues don’t care who you are. We’ve just got to take life one day at a time and do our best to care for ourselves and our loved ones.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: More Than 75 Percent
When disease-causing agents invade the body’s tissues, this results in what’s commonly known as infection. From the stomach flu to pneumonia, infections can range anywhere from the annoying to the crippling. And even a doctor’s visit may not cure what ails us. In fact, according to research, more than 75 percent of infections in the United States go undetected, with millions of patient dollars spent on medical testing that doesn’t yield helpful results or heal patients.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Crystal Icenhour, Co-founder and CEO of Aperiomics
Thankfully, there are some incredibly smart ladies out there making it their mission to improve the health of patients the world over. The super-brainy Crystal Icenhour is one such woman, and she’s employing her passion for innovation and her expertise in biotech to discover the unknown and help transform infectious-disease diagnostics. Crystal is the co-founder and CEO of Aperiomics, the first company of its kind to use DNA analysis in a pathogens test to detect chronic infectious diseases.
With a single test, Aperiomics uses sequencing and genomic analysis to identify any known pathogen. The company compares such samples with its database of more than 32,000 microbes and pathogens (the largest database of its kind in the world, by the way) to accurately identify the sneaky little buggers. In fact, through this process, Aperiomics has successfully discovered many infections that were missed by standard testing.
Much of the brilliance of the company comes from Crystal, who has made infectious disease her business since her time as a student. This science whiz has worked with all the big names, from the Mayo Clinic to the Duke University Medical Center. And as a leader in business and science, she’s dedicated to effectively bridging the translation gap between these two worlds. And if anyone can do it, it’s this brilliant Ph.D., who also holds two patents, has authored numerous research articles and is a pioneering authority in all there is to know about medicine and science.
STEM wasn’t necessarily a mainstay in Crystal’s childhood, but entrepreneurship sure was. Her family owned a truck-repair shop, giving Crystal the opportunity to gain experience in every aspect of the business, from managing the books to organizing inventory and even mopping the floors. It was there that she developed her high-achiever attitude and unrelenting drive. After completing her Ph.D. studies in just four years, Crystal set out to change the world for the better.
Regardless of the industry, Crystal knows it takes guts to launch a business, a characteristic she has in spades. And she’s a shining example that not backing down can lead to powerful impact for others. As Crystal says, “I don’t believe in failure, and I don’t believe in regrets.” Spoken like a true changemaker!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Crystal Icenhour definitely embodies this quote from medical hero Florence Nightingale:
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.