Meet Megan – Healthcare entrepreneur, Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford and member of Impact Hub Vienna
Follow her on twitter: @jmegjones
I sat down with Megan a week after her keynote at Pioneers Festival where she talked about her passion to humanize mental health through design. Dr. Jones (btw. I really love writing Dr. Jones) has developed evidence-based digital health programs for a wide range of mental health disorders that formed Lantern (golantern.com) a an online and personalized service mental health coaching plattform.
IHV: When did you become a member of Impact Hub Vienna and what attracted you to the community?
M: I joined Impact Hub Vienna in September, 2014 because I was looking for a community of like-minded creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs in Vienna. I was drawn to the Hub because of its focus on social innovation. My background is in clinical psychology and my research and current start-up focuses on mental health so my personal motivations and passions aligns closely the mission of Impact Hub.
IHV: What did you want to do when you were a kid?
M: As a kid I wanted to be a pediatrician because I come from a medical family. I grew up following my parents around the hospital and cheering up my father’s patients who were home-bound or in assisted care facilities. I had great admiration for both of my parents who devoted their personal and professional lives to making a meaningful impact in our community. After supporting several family members through their struggles with mental health problems and overcoming my own I decided to dedicate my life to preventing mental health problems and improving mental health services.
IHV: What is the project you are currently working on?
M: After spending 10+ years developing and researching digital health programs for improving mental health I decided to jump from my academic position at Stanford University to the start-up world. As part of the founding team of Lantern I’m now working to make Lantern the most engaging and affordable way to strengthen and improve overall mental health. Lantern is designed to fill the space between self-help books and face-to-face therapy as a mobile solution that offers personalized cognitive behavioral programs while connecting individuals to 1:1 professional coaches. As a result, Lantern addresses the three most common reasons that people do not get the care they need: stigma, access to care, and the cost of therapy. Lantern launched in October last year and already has thousands of users throughout the globe who on average are reducing their specific distress/concerns by 50%.
I also am about to start a Horizon 2020 funded research study in Austria and seven other European countries where we will implement online mental health programs in schools, healthcare systems, and at companies.
IHV: What was your most recent success personally and/or in your professional life?
M: Personally, it is letting go of attachments to old ideas of myself and others’ expectations. I am resigning from my faculty position at Stanford this month to devote myself fully to Lantern and my work here in Austria. Closing one chapter is always hard, but saying “no” to one thing means saying “yes” to another. Professionally, my success is shared with the other incredible people with whom I have build Lantern. Together our success comes from seeing impact Lantern has on our users’ lives.
IHV: What is the Impact You want to have in the next years?
M: I want to change the way people think about and address their emotional wellbeing. I want to disrupt the status quo in mental health and promote cheaper, easier, access to effective help. If I could change one thing it would be to eliminate mental health stigma.