An embodiment of the University’s mission and vision, Dr. Nisarg Patel exemplifies the caliber of students being educated at International American University (IAU). As the founder and CEO of a Canadian EDTech start-up company, he has designed and developed an interactive learning platform called BoardBullets. Currently, the mobile application is designed as a supplemental study tool for students preparing for their board examinations and is available for download. Nisarg was born in India and moved to Canada where he completed his high school and attended the University of Calgary. Shortly after that he was accepted into our 4-year MD program and moved to Saint Lucia to begin his medical training. His passion for medicine and education fuel his innovations and entrepreneurial spirit.
BoardBullets is a quiz-style game for medical students and doctors to learn and review high-yield concepts and topics tested on board examinations. Transforming conventional resources and learning material from the medical school curriculums, BoardBullets allows users to practice questions efficiently and assess their performance regularly. Furthermore, the platform boasts a feature that lets users submit their questions to create a personalized learning experience.
“BoardBullets is dynamic!” said Nisarg. “Continuous feedback from our users, integrated artificial intelligence, and comprehensive data analyses guide all our improvements and innovations. It [BoardBullets] has the potential to become a go-to resource for students everywhere.”
Patel’s start-up is also exploring the modular application of the BB platform for developing learning tools for other standardized board examinations, beginning with dentistry and nursing.
Dr. Patel is also a novice programmer and is working with a private company to develop a telehealth platform that will allow patients’ access to healthcare providers from their mobile devices. Looking ahead, he wants to explore the possibility of bringing “HEALTHcare, not SICKcare” directly to people’s homes via the recent advances in personal sensors, biotechnology, and digitization of medicine and further expand the BoardBullets digital learning platform to make it available globally.
Nisarg on his IAU Experience:
How did your time at IAU influence this entrepreneurial idea?
“Everyone’s medical school experience is somewhat similar – sleepless nights of studying and miniature vacations filled with fond memories with your friends and peers. IAU and life in Saint Lucia added something unique to my journey – I learned the same material as any on-shore student would, however, my clinical experience began in remote villages of the island where resources were either limited or just unavailable, but mobile devices were accessible. So, I thought maybe there is a way to provide patient education using technology. I feel that this had an impact.”
What do you hope students, especially those outside IAU, will gain from their BoardBullets experience?
“BoardBullets is a learning platform that’s been downloaded in countries around the world with students from different educational backgrounds — which is awesome! That tells me that the BB experience it is not limited IAU or even medical students. The uniqueness of BoardBullets is the collective effort by all our users to provide critical feedback and in response our development team improving the product to help students perform better and change their learning behavior. My hope is that our users continue to challenge us to improve the BoardBullets platform – that way everyone benefits!”
Developing projects such as these are a big deal. What do you think this says about the type of student IAU educates?
“IAU provided a unique medical school experience that shaped my education and career. My mentors and peers provided a nurturing and competitive environment for growth; I think that helped a lot. That along with other life experiences created opportunities for me to develop BoardBullets.”
What qualities do you possess that embody the IAU spirit?
“IAU’s spirit are all the people at the school — friends and mentors. I try to emulate their perseverance, diligence, and humility.”
Speaking of IAU, what is your favorite memory from your time in Saint Lucia?
“Honestly, all of it! My 16 months on the beautiful island of Saint Lucia are unforgettable. These memories consisted of taking the local buses every morning to lectures from Black Bay to downtown Vieux Fort, to post-exam volleyball tournaments on the beach. Going to Super J’s on the weekends for groceries then driving to Castries for a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle are all memories that still come up in conversations with friends. My fondest memory was the early morning, 5-hour hike up to Gros Piton with my buddies. I remember that day very clearly for many reasons; it was physically and mentally exhausting, yet rewarding; fantastic views of the island, meeting local islanders, spending quality time with friends and so much more. Looking back it’s kind of like my journey through medical school.”
When did you know you wanted to become a doctor?
“My parents recognized my interest in medicine and hospitals when I was in high school and signed me up as a volunteer at Northern Lights Health Region in Fort McMurray. Rest has been an ongoing process which was solidified when I was accepted into IAU.”
What advice would you give to first-year students, especially those who share the same entrepreneurial spirit?
“That’s tough — I’m still learning how to do it. As first years, they are embarking on a long journey where obstacles are inevitable. Each obstacle you overcome will teach you something new, as it has me. Do not stop learning!”
If any prospective/current students have questions about IAU and his projects, please contact him:
Nisarg Patel, MD