Osmosis News

Welcome the Osmosis Chief Medical Officer: Rishi Desai, MD, MPH

Osmosis Team
Published on Oct 1, 2015. Updated on Apr 3, 2020.

Osmosis is proud to announce that we are bringing on Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, as our Chief Medical Officer. Most recently, Rishi worked at Khan Academy as the Head of Health and Medicine. If you’ve watched a KA video on one of these topics, you’ve likely already heard his voice! He also works as a board-certified pediatric infectious disease attending at Stanford University, and previously worked as an epidemic intelligence officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rishi graduated from UCSF medical school and trained in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital and Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Send him a tweet @RishiDesaiMD to welcome him to the Osmosis community!

Why did you decide to join Osmosis?

Osmosis has deep roots in neurocognitive principles of learning. Not surprisingly, Osmosis has consistently been ahead of the curve: spaced repetition, mastery-based learning, crowd-sourcing content, natural language processing of course materials, peer-peer grading, confidence ratings… If something is proven to make learning more effective, then you can be sure that it’s already woven into the fabric of Osmosis. How could I resist joining a team that is so far ahead of the pack?

What are you hoping to accomplish in the next year?

Osmosis has been the go-to platform for thousands of medical students from around the world. Moving forward, we’re expanding our content to make it a rich experience for nursing students as well. In fact, we know that students and faculty across the health sciences want access to high-quality effective learning resources, so we’re working hard to build the partnerships we need to make this a reality.

How will your work at the Khan Academy and CDC influence your work at Osmosis?

My previous work at Khan Academy exposed me to an incredibly talented group of content creators and reviewers that worked hard to offer free content to students around the world. At the CDC, I was working with passionate folks that cared deeply about global health education that would ultimately shape policy. I see Osmosis serving up the best content (including clinical, global health, and more!) to the right person, in the right setting, at precisely the right moment. This will be the future of how we learn.

What do you do for fun?

In order of most fun to least fun. Traveling and cooking with my wife, gardening, camping, playing board games, comedy, watching basketball, talking politics, hiking with Pente (my Jack-Russell), video games, bowling, exercising, red-eye flights, eating raisins, and raccoons.

Former Head of Khan Academy Medicine Joins Clinical Education Startup, Osmosis, As Chief Medical Officer

SAN FRANCISCO, October 1, 2015 -- Osmosis (www.osmosis.org), an adaptive clinical education startup that is based upon a continuous learning mastery model and currently reaches 30,000 medical students, has named Rishi Desai, MD, MPH - the former head of Khan Academy Medicine - as its new Chief Medical Officer.

While at the Khan Academy, Dr. Desai secured more than $2 million in grant funding to spearhead the creation of the Health and Medicine section that now accounts for approximately 2.5 million monthly learners. He alsodeveloped partnerships with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to create, respectively, openly accessible MCAT and NCLEX preparation material. In addition to working directly with medical schools, Dr. Desai also continues to practice at Stanford Medical Center as a Board-certified pediatric infectious disease specialist. He previously worked as an epidemic intelligence officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

After being recruited by a number of private sector and academic institutions, Dr. Desai decided to join Osmosis for a number of reasons. “I was seriously impressed with the Osmosis product, team, and vision. They’ve figured out a way to help students learn didactic material extremely effectively, so that they can spend class time interacting with their peers and faculty. They have a platform that is built on a foundation of learning science and have uniquely found a way to leverage their huge trove of data to help administrators and faculty improve their curricula. How could I resist this opportunity?” Desai remarked.

The appointment offers additional credibility and experience for an upstart learning engine that has already become well-known in the medical education community. In less than two years, Osmosis has already:

  • Delivered nearly 5 million questions to close to 30,000 medical students;

  • Officially been adopted by nine medical schools and counting, including Duke-NUS, UCSF-UCB, and Rush Medical College;

  • Published three peer-reviewed research papers and received grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Board of Medical Examiners;

  • Launched collaborations with major players in the medical education space including Medscape, American College of Physicians, Elsevier, Picmonic, ReelDx Education, and others;

  • Won the prestigious Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition;

  • Donated clinical education resources to under-resourced medical schools in Africa and Asia.

“Dr. Desai brings with him incredible clinical and educational expertise, and we are looking forward to what we will be able to accomplish for the fields of medical and health education with him as part of the Osmosis team,” said co-founder and CEO, Shiv Gaglani.

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