Job title: Resident Physician, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta.
Why he’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: He develops solutions for health issues in developing nations.
Four years ago, Dr. Qaasim Mian took a laboratory job for a research project focused on how to help kids with pneumonia living in poor countries — places where electricity services are spotty.
But Mian was quickly tapped to take the Solar Oxygen Study from a research endeavour to a sustainable commercial one, which could ultimately become an important part of health-care infrastructure.
After all, the 25-year-old pediatric resident at the University of Alberta also has an MBA. As project manager for the Solar Oxygen Study, he has helped fundraise $1 million so far and is overseeing the concept’s transition to scale.
“As a clinician you’re directly taking care of patients, but there are so many problems within medicine that are bigger; policy problems, problems where we don’t have the right technology. Combining business and medicine gives me a perspective to problem-solve,” Mian says.
Traditional oxygen cylinders are expensive. The Solar Oxygen Study uses an oxygen concentrator, which purifies the air around a patient, and combines it with solar panels and a battery bank — so if there’s a power outage, a patient still gets the therapy he or she needs.
The work has taken Mian to Uganda twice so far, where he has seen the potential it has to save lives.
Mian has always loved leading teams and managing projects. When he was in medical school, he spent three years leading a charity hockey tournament that raised thousands for Little Warriors. In his undergrad, he was also president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Students’ Association.
He says taking on major extracurricular projects actually helps him feel balanced.
“When it’s something you’re passionate about or excited about, it doesn’t seem like work.”