Turning an app into an opportunity

13 December 2018

University of Queensland Medicine alumnus and startup entrepreneur Dr Zachary Tan has been chosen as one of 140 international scholars selected for the Schwarzman Scholars, a prestigious master’s program.

Dr Tan is the director of CancerAid, a leading cancer patient support startup, rated the number one cancer app in the US, UK and Australia.

The Schwarzman scholarship will see him complete a one-year Masters in Global Affairs at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

“I chose the Schwarzman scholarship because exciting things are happening in China with technology, software, and AI breaking down barriers in rural and urban access to health care,” he said.

“China once had no primary healthcare system, like GPs.

“People turned up at major hospitals to get treatment for everything from serious pneumonia to common colds.

“My professional passion is a culmination of clinical medicine, technology and policy and where in that intersection I can make a definite impact or offer value.”

Dr Tan plans to focus on global health policy and economics.

Of Chinese-Australian heritage, Dr Tan said he was interested in the relationship between the two countries, especially as China grows.

Born in Shanghai and raised in New Zealand, Dr Tan moved to Queensland to attend university and graduated in 2015.

At UQ, Zachary Tan was medical school student body president, and also served on the Australian Medical Association Council for Doctors in Training.

“I believe health technology – the fusion of technology and providing healthcare – is the way of the future,” Dr Tan said.

Dr Tan said he was happy he made the move to Australia at 17 to study at UQ.  

“I’m very proud of being a UQ graduate and to continue at UQ as a researcher,” he said.

“I’m an academic title holder, and my recent research explores ways to use AI technology to diagnose eye disease in ophthalmology, which is my specialist interest.

“In AI, there’s some really great technology coming out of the US and China. In fact, Tsinghua University is one of the world leaders in AI.”

Dr Zachary Tan commences at Tsinghua University as a Schwarzman Scholar in August 2019.

The scholarships, modelled on the Rhodes Scholarship and the classical Chinese academies of Shūyuàn, foster greater cooperation between East and West by educating exceptional people as future leaders.

North American financier Stephen A Schwarzman founded his namesake’s scholarship with a $450 million endowment to the University, with the purpose built Schwarzman College opening in July 2016.

The Schwarzman Scholars advisory board members have experience in international policy or technological innovation, and include Kevin Rudd, Nicolas Sarkozy and Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen.

Media: UQ Global Engagement and Entrepreneurship Josie Dietrich, j.dietrich@uq.edu.au, 07 3346 0619.