Elif inspired us with her personal and professional journey. Some highlights below.
“You can’t just disrupt healthcare, because if you do, someone dies”
Elif shared with us her time working as an Emergency Room (ER) physician in Chicago. She witnessed many tragic events, but noted a sense of resilience in many of the patients and their families. One of the challenges she found as an ER physician was the realization that many of her patients could not afford their care, but were in life or death situations. This emboldened her to move to healthcare advocacy and eventually to build her own company InSun Solutions, which bridges the gap between healthcare industry and tech innovators looking to find new solutions to healthcare problems.
On Otherness and Family
Elif shared her parent’s immigration story, coming from Turkey to Ann Arbor when she was an infant. Her dad had an opportunity to work on NASA focused research as a doctoral student at the University of Michigan. Her parents emphasized education over wealth as a means to opportunity and contributing to society. Her mother was raised in Izmir, a cosmopolitan city located on Turkey’s Aegean coast. A literature teacher, she grew up among family and friends attending its many cultural offerings and found Ann Arbor, at the time, to be a drastic change. It wasn’t always easy to be an outsider, and Elif and her family experienced racism and xenophobia throughout her childhood. She continued feeling a sense of otherness as a female doctor in the ER, but continued to work to better people’s lives.
Learning from Other Women
Elif shared an inspiring story of a female nurse in the ER. This woman had served in the US Military during wartime as an Army Nurse, and understood what it was like for a female in this environment. This nurse took her aside and told her she would have to toughen up to survive in the Emergency Room. She taught her the subtleties of how to lead and command a room. It is about stepping back and listening to others, observing why they are taking certain steps or actions and building empathy and trust.