Doctorpreneurs: Dr Cortina McCurry

This week's Doctorpreneur of Doctology is Dr Cortina McCurry.

Cortina is the CEO and Co-founder of Caia.

Cortina has a PhD in neuroscience from MIT, and more than 15 years experience across healthcare, technology, and operations. Cortina was a Partner at Boston Consulting Group, and traded it all in for the best job of all - founder of a healthtech start up in Australia. What organisation / startup did you found? I founded Caia, a women’s and family healthtech startup which gives individuals access to a broad range of specialist providers and content in a single platform. What is its noble purpose? Our goal is to use technology to transform reproductive and family health. We have created a service designed to meet the myriad needs of modern women and families who are often busy and time poor.

These individuals struggle to get access to the right women’s health experts, services and information in a way that is easy and convenient. When it comes to women’s health there is often stigma which prevents people from seeking out help.

We are creating a space where individuals can feel heard and know that they are receiving care from empathetic providers who will listen to their needs and have the expertise to help. Tell me about the first 10 years of your life? I grew up in Alaska. I’m one of six kids. As a family we spent a lot of time outdoors. It is only after having spent the last couple of decades living in big cities that I recognize what an idyllic upbringing I had.

It is a gorgeous place to grow up - midnight summer sun, fishing for king salmon, northern lights, dog sled races. A downside is the winters are extremely dark and cold. I remember stretches of time where I would not actually see the sun as it would rise while I was in school and it would be dark again by the time I got out.

I also remember a kid responding to a dare and getting his tongue stuck (read frozen) to a telephone pole on a particularly cold day. This should be a life lesson for all of us really - do not lick telephone poles, especially when it is -10°. What made you want to be a Doctor and what specialty did you choose? Why? I have always been medically inclined. I was probably one of the only teenagers I knew who would spend their time dissecting cadavers and shadowing cardiologists and other surgeons. In the end I chose Neuroscience.

I read Gifted Hands by Ben Carson, an African-American Neurosurgeon known for performing the only successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the back of the head, and fell in love with the brain. What made you want to be an Entrepreneur or follow an alternative route? When exactly did you decide? I enjoy creating and pushing the boundaries. I love the dynamism and rollercoaster that is the start up world. Women’s health is an area where there is a huge need yet it has been historically underserved - there is a ton of opportunity for innovation.

We are finally reaching a point where there is a societal appetite to do something about it and Caia is a part of meeting that need. What is your favourite quote? Given the topic, what could be more fitting than Dr. Seuss:

“So, on beyond Z! It’s high time you were shown, that you really don’t know all there is to be known.”

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