Discussing the Need for Equity & Access in Women's Health

Marissa Fayer, founder and CEO of HERhealthEQ, and CEO of DeepLook, is set to deliver a keynote address on women's health at IME East in June.

Katie Pfaff

May 30, 2023

5 Min Read
Image Credit: Michael Duva/Getty Images

Marissa Fayer, founder and CEO of nonprofit HERhealthEQ, CEO of DeepLook Medical, VP of Operations at Ultrasound AI, and recently named among the “Top 100 Women in MedTech” list shares her daily work practices, her motivation to help patients, specifically underserved women globally, and what makes working in medtech a fulfilling and engaging career. Fayer is also delivering a keynote at IME East on June 13th, titled "The Future of Medtech... for Women."

What made you want to launch companies in medtech for women?

Fayer: I went straight into medtech from university, I loved it and I never wanted to leave. I always had a desire to help women, specifically in STEM. I found my passion when I was at Hologic and was able to marry STEM and helping women. I was seeing on a global scale, in developing countries specifically, that women were not able to access healthcare and for me it became very clear that I needed to merge my worlds. Women are disproportionately affected by so many conditions, so I wanted to make sure that women were incorporated in decisions and part of a solution. And I started to see that there were few women-owned companies. When I started my own firm, I made a conscious decision to focus on what I wanted to do and who I wanted to help, and have been grateful to continue doing that.

How long have you been in the industry and when did you first become interested?

Fayer: I have been in medtech 23 years so far. I was going into the aerospace industry and there was a downturn. I was recruited out of college straight into medtech. Once you are in medtech you never leave. I also realized that medtech was the way to help people directly or indirectly, medtech is always innovating and exciting, and unfortunately people are always getting sick and are in need of innovative solutions.

 How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Fayer: I believe there is a balance, but it’s not a 50/50 balance. Some days, months, or years you have to go hard and other times you can take breaks. What I do is when I travel, I add on a day or two and enjoy where I am or add a dinner with friends. That for me is rejuvenating. I believe everyone has to do what’s right for them and where you are in your life. You also have to have grace for other people that their balance is not the same as your balance.

What time do you start your day and why that time?

Fayer: I am an anti-morning person. I don’t believe you have to get up at 5 and start journaling or problem solving. I believe in following your natural sleep cycle and everyone runs on different cycles. I start my day at 8, 9 o’clock, unless I’m working with Europe or Africa, and then I work until 8, 9 o’clock in the evening.

Do you have any work mantras or approaches that guide or ground you throughout your day?

Fayer: It changes all the time. One of my biggest mantras is: Just keep going, just take a step forward every hour, every day. As long as you are not moving backward, you are moving forward.

I also think learning to say ‘no’ in order to stick to your values is important.

What have you learned about medtech that you did not know before going into the space?

Fayer: A lot of people outside of medtech think medtech is just MRIs, but everything is medtech from a Q-tip to surgical equipment. Something that I learned early on is that there are so many different innovations and segments in medtech. You never stop learning in medetch, there is always a new technology and new innovation. Part of the medtech experience is that we are impacting people’s lives and to keep doing that we have to keep learning.

What motivates you each day, or what helps to motivate your teams daily?

Fayer: We are healthcare, and we always have to think about the patient. It motivates me every day to know that I’m helping people, particularly women, to improve their health which in turn improves their lives. From my perspective, it’s really important to remind my team of the people that we are doing this work for; what we are doing impacts peoples’ lives positively.

Do you take inspiration from any source for innovation? If so, what and how does it inspire you?

Fayer: I turn to patient stories, other people in the industry, and innovators in other industries for things that might apply to help us be faster or cheaper. We need to turn to other innovators in the women’s health space. We are all doing something different and are not in competition, but even if we are, there needs to be more solutions.

What are you most excited about in the future of medtech for women’s health?

Fayer: I’m really excited for women’s health, it’s finally getting the attention it deserves from investors, from innovators, from larger companies, from people wanting our products.

I also do work in the breast cancer imaging space and that is a super interesting time right now with new and exciting innovations.

 What is one of the greatest challenges you are seeing in your work?

Fayer: One of the challenges is convincing people that women’s health matters, convincing them why they should be interested, why they should invest. Without investment, there is no innovation or continued innovation. It’s a gift and a challenge at the same time.

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