MBA Graduate Turns Dream of Opening a Clinic Into A Reality
Using a business plan created in his MBA program, Sheik Faye, MPAS'18, MBA’21 opens a clinic in Rocky Mount, North Carolina to serve the underserved community.
Sheik Faye, MPAS ’18, MBA ’21, was pushed into the medical field when he realized that he needed to take an active role. In his homeland of Gambia, he sat idly waiting while his best friend died from an injury that he now knows could have been prevented if he had an x-ray done.
The opportunity to follow the path to a career in medicine arose when he moved to the United States in 2012. He was on the path to pursue a medical degree until his undergraduate advisor at Salem State University told him about the physician assistant studies program. He was intrigued. He applied to MCPHS and joined the physician assistant program based in Manchester, NH.
“The MBA was something that I was really interested in because my end goal is to open clinics in Gambia and also in the United States,” Faye says.
Faye already had the medical knowledge and experience from his experience as a physician assistant, and the MBA program was able to teach him the practical next steps of how to turn his dream of opening a clinic into a reality.
“The MBA taught me practical skills like how to read business spreadsheets, like how to keep track of expenses and liabilities . . . I did not know all of that prior to the MBA and knowing all of that has helped me a lot,” he says.
As an avid reader of biographies and business books, Faye explained that “you can read a book and have a basic understanding of how that person got there but they don’t give you that step-by-step roadmap . . . the MBA helps you connect the dots.”
During the MBA program, Faye took the HCM 815 Entrepreneurship and Innovation class with Assistant Professor and Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) Program Director Christina Mullikin. His initial objective was to create a business plan for a clinic in Gambia but he was stirred by the immediate need that he saw while working as a physician assistant in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
“I diverted my business plan to create two — one for the clinic in Rocky Mount and one for the clinic in Gambia,” he says. “Once I saw that I could actually do it without taking any loans, I did it.”
Faye opened the Gam-Med Family Medicine & Walk-in Clinic, a community-based clinic in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on February 11. The clinic provides primary and urgent care services to all people regardless of age, gender, sex, income, or immigration status. He explained that he has been warmly received by the community and was even greeted by the mayor on the opening day of his clinic.
“My clinic focuses on the underserved community,” he says.
One of the concepts that he learned during his MBA program that he has implemented in his clinic is value-based care. He explained that under a traditional fee-for-services model, he isn’t able to address the whole body but using the framework of value-based care allows him to work with patients to provide better and long-lasting care.
“In the clinic, I’m able to deliver the care that I want to the patients that are coming to me,” he says. I’m also riding the rollercoaster of being an entrepreneur . . . the excitement, the emotional swings, the anxiety . . . it’s exciting.”
Professor Mullikin said that she was really impressed at how Faye used what he learned in class and applied the knowledge directly to the clinic.
"I’ve had a few students, over the years, take their [business] plans and implement them, so it’s exciting when you hear that feedback from students in the future, saying "you know I took what you had us do in class and this is what I did with it. And this is how it’s impacting my life and how I’m impacting others,” she explains.
At the moment, Faye is the only provider, but he hopes to expand the size/offer more services in time. Faye plans to use his clinics to offer physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and Doctors without Borders the ability to connect American medical professionals to patients in Gambia using telemedicine.
“I named it Gam-Med as a tribute to my home country,” he says. “With telehealth, you can offer people the comfort of practicing in their own dining room and reach people in need,” he said.
Due to the technological demands created in telemedicine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he believes that he is able to fast track his timeline and plans to return home to Gambia in the next five years.
“Once my clinic is self-sufficient, I can move back to my home country,” he says.
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