About Dirk

Founder | Professor | Entrepreneur | Investor

I am an "accidental", yet successful entrepreneur." In 1999, I relinquished tenure at a top university to co-found an early digital health company (HolaDoctor Inc, like WebMD, in Spanish), a decision that radically changed the course of my career. Eighteen years of hard work later, HolaDoctor was acquired in full by a global insurance company.

With the goal of helping other entrepreneurs do what I did, but faster, I started UpDraft Health Innovation Advisors. Updraft works with digital health entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to successfully commercialize their products and services and sell into major hospitals and health plans.

I am currently writing a book called “Getting Past the Pilot, a practical guide for health innovators and entrepreneurs . The book is based on my personal experience building HolaDoctor and insights from over 110 interviews I've completed with investors, purchasers and builders of health innovations. OF NOTE: I'm looking for a few more case studies and to interview a couple more founders, investors, purchasers for inclusion in the book. Please contact me if you have a story or insight you’d like to share. The book will be published in early-2021.

I am also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Global Health at Emory University, where I teach a graduate-level course on Social Entrepreneurship for Global Health.

Prior to co-founding HolaDoctor, I spent 20 years working in Internationally in public health programs, primarily in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam) and Central America (Guatemala, Mexico). I am fluent in Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian.

Specialties: Commercializing digital health innovations; telehealth and telemedicine, strategic consulting and marketing, business strategies to grow sales with Hispanic and multicultural consumers in the U.S. and emerging markets. Cultural adaptation for Health. Research design. Use of innovative technologies to address health disparities, multicultural marketing and sales, public health innovation and social entrepreneurship. Global health.


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