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Fortune's '40 under 40': The 19 health care trailblazers who made the list


Fortune on Wednesday released its "40 under 40" list of the top entrepreneurs and leaders under 40 years old, including 19 who are known for their contributions to the health care and wellness industries.

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The '40 under 40' leaders making change in health care

Fortune's 2019 list featured several leaders working in or influencing the health care and wellness industries, including:

  • Alison Atwell, age 31, is a former journalist who heads Amazon's efforts to train its voice assistant Alexa. Alexa was recently upgraded to support HIPAA-compliant voice skills, but experts say big questions remain about the technology's future in health care.

  • Marisa Barting, age 39, is a director of marketing who led the launch of Bubly, Pepsi's sparkling water. The launch comes as "Americans are turning their backs on sugary soft drinks as they seek out healthier, more natural fare," Fortune writes.

  • Joy Buolamwini, age 29, is a researcher at the MIT Media Lab and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League. According to Fortune, Buolamwini "is one of the most prominent figures to highlight the problem of algorithmic and [artificial intelligence's (AI)] bias for the public."Buolamwini was the lead author on a "landmark" study that prompted Microsoft and IBM to improve their facial recognition technologies' ability to recognized darker-skinned women.

  • Pete Buttigieg, age 37, is mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. On health care, Buttigieg believes a Medicare-for-All program is "the right place for us to head as a country," but doesn't thinks such a proposal has to eliminate private health plans.

  • Tom Cortese, age 39, is the co-founder and COO of the exercise bike company Peloton, which makes an at-home luxury exercise bike that "allows the user to stream a constant supply of high-energy fitness classes," according to Fortune. Peloton's impact isn't just about the technical capabilities of its product. According to Fortune, the company has made a "cultural statement" as well.

  • Allyson Felix, age 33, Alysia Montaño, age 33, and Phoebe Wright, age 30, are Olympic medalists "who risked their reputations and legal action" by bringing attention to the fact that sponsors can legally stop paying their athletes if they become pregnant, Fortune reports. Montaño and Wright talked about the topic to the New York Times, while Felix followed-up with an op-ed. Montaño said, "There was the nondisclosure agreement, but I knew the conversation could open doors in terms of equality and maternal health."

  • Alyson Friedensohn, age 29, and Erica Johnson, age 32, founded mental health startup Modern Health, which offers "holistic 'emotional health services'" to corporations, including counseling, career coaching, and meditation apps. Friedensohn previously worked with health care startups, and Johnson had her start as a neuroscience researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

  • Ian Goodfellow, age 34, is "one of the youngest and most respected A.I. researchers in the world," according to Fortune. His work as led to the controversial "deepfake" videos, he's also "paved the way for advanced AI that can create more realistic sounding audio voices, among other tasks," according to Fortune.

  • Mike Gorenstein, age 33, took over as CEO of the Canadian marijuana company known as PharmaCan in 2016 and rebranded the company, now known as Cronos Group. Now, with a market cap of $5.8 billion, Cronos is one of the most valuable publicly traded cannabis companies.

  • Mei Mei Hu, age 36, is CEO and cofounder of United Neuroscience, a biotech company that focuses on developing vaccines that can treat and prevent neurological disease. As a former consultant with a law degree, Hu's "outsider sensibilities may prove a major asset" to her company as it seeks to develop a vaccine for Alzheimer's disease, according to Fortune.

  • Nicholas Jammet, Jonathan Newman, and Nathaniel Ru, all age 34, who founded the salad chain Sweetgreen in 2007. The move "started a salad revolution," Fortune writes. "Since then, Sweetgreen has grown like weeds, with 95 stand-alone restaurants and more than 120 on-demand pickup 'outposts' in offices and coworking spaces across the country."

  • Laura Kliman, age 35, is "a key leader on the R&D team, … working on new products like the Impossible Sausage," Fortune writes. "If she's successful, she'll have convinced a population of meat eaters that the company's plant-based alternative is not just better for their health and planet but also just as good as the real things," according to Fortune.

  • Trevor Martin, age 30, co-founded his gene-editing company Mammoth with the help of CRISPR inventor Jennifer Doudna. While CRISPR is "widely recognized for its potential to treat diseases ranging from cancer to inherited disorders," Martin's team hopes to determine how the technology can act as "a genetic search engine," by slicing human DNA in order to diagnose diseases, Fortune reports.

  • Keller Rinaudo, age 32, is CEO and cofounder of Zipline, which uses drone technology to deliver medical products to low-income nations. Rinaudo said Rwanda uses Zipline to deliver 60% of its national blood supply outside of its capital city, adding that a lot of the beneficiaries of the deliveries are women who suffered hemorrhages after giving birth. According to Fortune, the "technology is precise enough to literally drop off medical supplies to individual plots" (Mukherjee, Fortune, 7/10; Fortune, "40 under 40," 7/10; United Neuroscience, "About," accessed 7/11).

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