I am named after my grandmother Carolin, an opera singer who died of breast cancer when I was 3. As a child, I watched my other grandparents cope with colon and lung cancer. As an adult, I was lucky to be treated by a dermatologist who caught two early-stage melanomas. 

For so many of us at Flatiron Health, cancer is personal as well as professional. Our stories are the “why” behind the “what” of the work we do. Whatever path led us to Flatiron, we are here to learn from the experiences of people with cancer—and to translate that knowledge into better outcomes for their lives and the lives of those who follow.

This is why I joined Flatiron in 2016. I was hungry to drive change and solve problems that matter. I was looking for a company and culture that aligned with my personal values of respect, clarity, and possibility—and a team that made it fun to do this important work. I wanted to use my experience designing solutions to customers’ real-world problems and scaling dynamic and innovative teams at the intersection of healthcare, science, technology, and data.

I quickly knew I was in the right place. My Flatiron colleagues are an inspiring mix of vision, determination, and humility. They are passionate people—always ready to roll up their sleeves and sit on the floor to make things happen. For the past five years, I have been privileged to lead Flatiron HC™, our community oncology business, working closely with teams on the frontlines of cancer care who rely on our products and services to help them deliver better patient experiences and operate healthier practices.   

Today, I am excited and honored to take on the leadership of this exceptional company and team, as we build Flatiron’s next chapter together.

Flatiron has made great strides toward our mission to improve lives by learning from the experience of every cancer patient. Hundreds of cancer centers depend on our technology and services to bring better outcomes to patients in an increasingly value-based world. Our real-world data generate insights that have helped expand treatment alternatives for people with gastric, esophageal, and breast cancer and have illuminated the impact of healthcare policy on racial disparities in time to treatment. Flatiron is recognized around the world for the important contributions we make to health systems, clinicians, and, most importantly, to patients. 

And we’re still just scratching the surface of what’s possible. As the trusted partner to clinicians, researchers, drug developers, and regulators, we are uniquely positioned to drive greater knowledge and smarter decisions, from the discovery and approval of new treatments to their delivery and impact at the point of care. 

I have a deep understanding of what it takes to run a successful healthcare practice. My dad was a vascular surgeon who ran a small private practice, so I was exposed early to the limitations of chart-bound data and the complexities of managing a clinic. In my time at Flatiron, I’ve visited cancer centers across the country—shadowing clinicians, getting a front-row view of challenges on the ground, and helping to address them with technology and workflow solutions. Now I am honored to bring those learnings, and raise those perspectives and voices, to even more stakeholders across the cancer ecosystem.

The future of healthcare demands innovation that is solidly grounded in science and data, and holistic solutions that take into account every stage and stakeholder, from patients to doctors to clinics to researchers to developers to regulators and back to patients. We will continue to invest in connecting research and insights with everyday care, and in supporting cancer centers in the transformation toward a value-based future. We will cultivate broader and deeper data—clinical, genomic, claims, imaging, and more—and transform it into evidence that informs development and regulatory decisions and brings more hope to patients around the world. We will unlock new knowledge through novel trial design and more efficient and inclusive clinical trials. Our team is the backbone of our scientific, technical, and services infrastructure, and we will invest deeply in our people and in continuing to develop a workforce that reflects the diversity of the many people who live with cancer.

I am deeply grateful to Flatiron co-founders Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, whose passion and entrepreneurial optimism launched us all on this incredible journey. Today, their “audacious idea”—to combine the best minds in medicine and technology to transform the way cancer is understood and treated—is a meaningful reality in which 2,500+ colleagues work together to make the world a better place, in a company culture that is still innovative, can-do, humble, thoughtful, and caring. We are fortunate that Nat will continue to advise us in his role as Chair of Flatiron’s Board of Directors.

This journey from start-up to impact has been made possible through the support of Severin Schwan and the Roche Group, and their steadfast belief in Flatiron’s vision, our potential, and our autonomy.

I am so excited about where we are going. Cancer is smart. Together, we can be smarter. 

Author(s)
Carolyn Starrett oversees Flatiron Health’s community oncology and research businesses and all corporate functions.
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