Meet the Team: Rachel Cawley

Rachel Cawley is a Program Manager at UPMC Enterprises where she helps evaluate PHDA proposals, track the progress of each team’s research, and assist with any challenges that may arise. Rachel works to continually identify synergies between PHDA research and commercial opportunities for this research.

Rachel CawleyWhat led you to the PHDA?

I was looking to get more involved with the startup community and I’ve always had an appreciation for science, so it was a really nice way to combine them! It’s amazing to see what researchers build and discover, and exciting to help push these into the marketplace where more people can benefit from the researchers’ work.

Why did you move to Pittsburgh?

My college education brought me to Pittsburgh (Hail to Pitt!). While I had always thought graduation would take me back to the east coast, I ended up staying in the burgh for a job downtown. It’s been great to have both a student experience at Pitt and discover all the wonderful Pittsburgh neighborhoods as a graduate. There is always something new and fun to keep me busy!

Where did your career begin?

My career began in healthcare, on the payor side, serving Medicare and Medicaid populations. I worked in the business development area identifying pain points from our customers and exploring solutions to address gaps in care. It was purpose-driven work and opened my eyes to the far-reaching impact of government policies as well as the importance of building relationships with stakeholders to understand how those policies were working and how they needed to be amended to better serve the community.

What have been your biggest takeaways from the PHDA?

When it comes to research, it’s important to keep an open mind and stay flexible. While a project may set out to achieve a specific goal, findings along the way might change the pathway to success. I am also learning that there are many strategies when it comes to commercializing research! Both of our University partners have subject matter experts who help researchers consider all their options, which is a great benefit for our researchers to leverage.

What trends are you most excited about today in data and healthcare?

The urgency to make data more accessible and more integrated is key to extracting trends in patient history, predicting health outcomes, and identifying the best interventions when health outcomes are less than desired. In addition, more technology is becoming available to support the infrastructure needed to perform and monitor value-based care. While the buzz word has been around for a while, it is exciting to see more concrete steps pushing us closer to aligned incentives for all healthcare stakeholders, including patient, provider, and payor.

PotteryWhat’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

Due to my lack of athletic skill (that went to my brothers, it’s okay), I took up a more creative hobby – pottery! Using the wheel is a fun challenge and the design stage offers endless possibilities. There is even a good bit of science that goes into making both the clay and the glazes.

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