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Houston startup's AI-driven networking and education platform to soft launch in TMC

Flourishing Nexus recently won runner up in the innovation category of the city's Liftoff Houston competition. Photo courtesy of the City of Houston

Connecting medical professionals is about to get easier thanks to a new Houston company, Flourishing Nexus.

Next month, their digital platform, The Nexus, will debut to in a soft launch to a curated group of TMC employees.

“Think of it as a combination of existing platforms like LinkedIn, providing professional networking; Khan Academy, which provides excellent training and education; and a collaborative workspace like Google Workspace or Microsoft Teams, all enhanced by AI,” says Diane Nguyen.

Nguyen is a pharmacist by training, while her co-founder, Satid Thammasitboon, is an MD and master in health professions education.

The pair began working together in the health professions education space three years ago, but only established Flourishing Nexus in July of 2023. The company’s moniker refers to the concept of human flourishing.

“Our mission would be to promote human flourishing among health professionals,” says Thammasitboon.

The concept of human flourishing traces back at least to Aristotle, but The Nexus’ understanding of it is based on psychologist and educator Martin Seligman’s PERMA theory. The mnemonic stands for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment.

“We endeavor to bring these concepts of PERMA and human flourishing into the health professions space,” says Nguyen.

“Often our healthcare organizations or industries, when they hear health professionals are having issues with burnout, the response or reaction would be to increase incentive, financial support, or professional development to enhance resilience,” adds Thammasitboon. “We search for meaning we want to make a difference in the life of another rather than ‘everything is all about money.’”

Both professionals have globe-spanning careers. Thailand native Thammasitboon says that his endeavors have taken him across Europe, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, while Nguyen’s work has focused her attention on South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Europe.

“I realized that the key to providing better outcomes and health care for the patients was really dependent on the continuing education and training of the staff,” Nguyen says.

Those experiences proved to be the roots from which The Nexus grew.

But the team’s colleagues abroad won’t be among the first The Nexus users. That distinction will belong to Houston’s rich community of medical pros. And when the platform soft launches in January, it will be with two awards already under its belt.

The Liftoff Houston Startup Business Plan competition took place last month. Nine finalists, mostly entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, were selected from among 100 applicants to compete in Liftoff’s Pitch Day. Not only was The Nexus among those competitors, it raked in a runner-up prize, as well as fan favorite in the innovation category.

Nguyen, who did the pitching, says that Liftoff helped Flourishing Nexus tremendously with both its preparation workshops and feedback from the judges.

“Sometimes you think you have a great idea but it’s not until you critically think about your own plan, analyze your plan, and prepare to pitch it that you really learn about it. This preparation helped us and strengthened our mission. Our business plan is much better,” says Thammasitboon.

Next up? Launching and growing The Nexus’ community. Nguyen also says they plan to participate in more competitions, including possibly Houston Community College’s Business Plan Competition. It’s one more way of bringing the abstract concept of human flourishing to a flesh and blood audience.

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