When Rodelyn Joseph was a young student deciding to pursue a career as a physician assistant, she endured the journey without mentors. She was a first-generation college student and didn’t personally know anyone working in the healthcare field, so she went through the process of finishing school and getting hired as a physician assistant largely on her own.
This experience led her to create Medsembly, an Atlanta-based startup that connects students looking to enter healthcare with working professionals in their future careers. On Thursday, the company announced the launch of its interactive mentoring platform available for both iOS and Android devices.
“The platform basically solves the knowledge gaps that students experience as they transition into their careers,” Joseph said in an interview. “You can basically think of it as a career resource tool and a professional development tool for students and professionals.”
At Medsembly, students can search for mentors who work in areas related to their professional interest. Students can use the messaging platform to chat with their mentors or set up video calls. Users can also access recorded webinars of Medsembly mentors, day-in-the-life videos, and ask-me-anything sessions whenever they choose.
The platform also allows students to request “assignments” from their mentors, such as a resume review, a mock job interview, or a personal observation. Mentors receive a 50% commission for these assignments and can also receive continuing education credits toward their license through Medsembly.
Medsembly sells its platform to schools, which then allow their students to use its services for free. If a student attending a school not affiliated with Medsembly wants to use the platform, they can join by paying a monthly or annual fee.
The platform currently has about 900 students and 200 mentors, Joseph said. Mentors span a range of professions, such as doctors, nurses, assistants and speech therapists.
Medsembly’s target audience is first-generation college students, students of color and other students who typically don’t have access to a mentor working in the health care field, according to Joseph. As a woman of color, Joseph said she knows what it’s like to enter a profession where very few of your colleagues look like you. Medsembly was created to give these students the confidence and knowledge they need to succeed in a world that may initially seem unfamiliar to them.
There are other technology-enabled platforms where the medical community can connect and learn from each other – such as Doximites and The circles — but they are tailored to health professionals rather than focusing on students entering the field. Joseph claims that Medsembly is the only digital mentoring platform designed for students transitioning into healthcare careers.
Amid the launch of its platform, the startup was recently accepted into the Techstars Atlanta Accelerator Program, from which it received an investment of $120,000. During the three-month program, Medsembly has access to five TechStars mentors who provide guidance on business strategy, effective leadership skills and fundraising. This is the first time Joseph has had professional mentors in his life, she noted.