Though Shain Waugh ’00 didn’t always think of himself as a good student when he was young, he developed a powerful, lifelong love of learning that propelled him to great academic achievements.
He earned his BA in Management at Bryant, and then went on to other schools for an MBA, a master’s in computer science, and a nursing degree. He even completed coursework for a medical degree and a doctorate in public health. His path has a deeply personal origin.
"If I ever have a problem or question, I can always reach out to someone at Bryant."
After graduating from Bryant, he was working for a Florida bank as a database engineer when his aunt died of a rare form of breast cancer. She inspired him to become a registered nurse, and had told him her doctors didn’t know if there were patients who had survived the same disease elsewhere in the world. It got him thinking about using technology to solve this knowledge gap.
Now this health care technology entrepreneur is starting his next chapter — Fettle Path, a social platform that connects patients sharing the same diagnosis with experts and practitioners who can help them manage symptoms and thrive. Waugh’s co-founders include his Bryant roommate, Brian McCaw ’00, who serves as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
“If you look at everything I’ve done, it all adds up to this company,” said Waugh, who lives in Boynton Beach, FL.
The startup addresses breakdowns in caregiving in an increasingly fragmented health care landscape. The lack of communication between patients and their treatment teams is often the reason patients end up back in the hospital after being discharged, Waugh says.
Fettle Path sends custom notifications to patients about daily care, including helpful reminders and prompts. Expert contributors answer questions from the patient community and moderate content. “I want to honor my aunt. I want to do the best I can and make change,” he says.
The go-live, scheduled to launch in February, 2021, will focus on patients with multiple sclerosis. Subsequent communities will bring together patients with gastrointestinal disorders and mental health conditions. Patients participate for free. Revenues will come from sponsorships by providers, pharmaceutical firms, and other health care industry sources.
Waugh’s original 12-page startup plan made the finals of Bryant’s 2013 New Venture Competition. He didn’t win the $10,000 prize, but was inspired by a judge who told him his idea was 10 years too early. “So I said, ‘Let me keep working. Let me keep learning. Let me keep building relationships,’” he says. He credits Bryant’s active alumni network with keeping him connected.
“If I ever have a problem or question, I can always reach out to someone at Bryant,” he adds.