On The Front Lines of A Pandemic – Kamil Makhnejia, MBID 15

Supply chains are complex. Even under the best conditions, identifying and vetting suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors takes time. Needless to say, during a pandemic, medical staff and patients don’t have time to wait for supply chains to fix themselves. They need personal protective equipment now.

Kamil Makhnejia, MBID 15, is working every connection he has inside and outside the medical industry to get medical supplies to where they’re needed most during the pandemic. He is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Georgia Tech spin-out Jackson Medical, a patient and staff safety medical device company in Atlanta, Ga. Their flagship product is GloShield, a device that attaches to surgical lights to prevent operating room fires.

“Almost anything that touches healthcare right now is experiencing a supply chain issue,” says Makhnejia. “Solving supply chain issues isn’t something we normally do at Jackson Medical, but the same principles apply for how we set up our supply lines for our safety solution GloShield—we’re reaching out to potential suppliers nationwide and seeing who can help.”

Working with a COVID-19 consortium created by the Global Center for Medical Innovation, Makhnejia has not only supported an N95 respirator development project, but also leaned into his networks to help identify sources for raw materials, components, and contingency suppliers. Makhnejia has also provided logistics support to ensure products cross the finish line into the hands of healthcare providers.

“It’s interesting to see all the innovation happening now in the short-term on the healthcare front lines and to see how people are collaborating to very, very quickly bolster supply lines for healthcare and for hospitals,” Makhnejia says.

Jackson Medical is also supplying its own PPE that’s been developed following appropriate development and safety protocols, even as manufacturing operations have sped up during the pandemic.

“You want to ensure your end product is safe and effective,” Makhnejia says. “In this case, with the infection control that’s necessary with the coronavirus, protection is of utmost importance.”

Treating the Health and Economic Sides of a Pandemic

While the impacts of the pandemic on the healthcare industry are most apparent now, Makhnejia also recognizes that the economic situation caused by the pandemic has and will continue to hit vulnerable populations the hardest. As part of a network called Ismaili Professionals Network (IPN), he’s working on a professional development and career support service project that provides support to those looking for assistance in achieving their career goals.

“With these uncertain times and everything in flux, we also want to make sure that those individuals who are facing any level of career and professional instability have jobs and can earn an income,” Makhnejia says.

Members of the network review resumes, help participants practice interviews through videoconferencing, and provide reskilling and retraining programs that can be completed remotely.

“When this situation ends, the job market will be incredibly competitive. We want to give people the best chance of success,” Makhnejia says.

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