Kenan Alum Makes Forbes “30 under 30”
Forbes has released its annual “30 under 30” list which includes Kenan alum Gautam Chebrolu (E’17) among its list of top Social Entrepreneurs. Chebrolu, and Pilleave co-founder Yossuf Albanawi, are recognized for their work combating the opioid crisis through an innovative approach to prescribing, distributing, and using the drug.
Chebrolu’s first Duke experience came with the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ pre-orientation program Project Change, which works with local community and charitable organizations to examine Durham’s social needs. He continued engaging fellow students, scholars and practitioners in a variety of fields as a member of Team Kenan. The summer before his junior year, he embarked on a research project following a philanthropic microloan from start (his wallet) to finish (a motorcycle repairman in Nairobi, Kenya). Over the course of the summer, he developed a new appreciation for the potential of social entrepreneurship while also recognizing its limitations in meeting the actual needs of small business owners.
Chebrolu shared the following in response to being named one of Forbes “30 under 30” for 2019:
“We are really honored to be placed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List for Social Entrepreneurship this year, especially because we never expected it. When Yossuf and I joined forces, we simply wanted to build something that could have helped us or our family. And after talking to so many people along this journey, we realized that pretty much everybody knows someone that has struggled with substance abuse or has gone through it themselves. We want to do whatever we can to help.When we first heard the news, I immediately thought about how we got to this point and how it really all started with Kenan. Beginning with thinking about “ethical leadership and sustainable service” through pChange, then working with HackDuke: Code for Good in the early stages, and then being able to really dive into what social entrepreneurship was with my Kenan Summer Fellowship, I was given the opportunity to really critically analyze what made me honestly uncomfortable about “social entrepreneurship” and gave me the space to piece together what are effective practices in this space. And I took all those into Pilleve. “
The opioid crisis is one of the biggest public health challenges in America today, with more than 115 dying of an overdose a day. Pilleve, cofounded by Gautam Chebrolu and Yossuf Albanawi, who himself struggled with substance abuse, aims to fight addiction through early intervention with its secure pill dispenser. Patients receive their opioid prescription in a Pilleve bottle and pills are dispensed one by one after patients input their pain levels, mood and side effects into an app. Pill intake data is also collected in real time and sent to providers if patients are taking more than prescribed. Pilleve has partnered with one of the largest pain clinic in Maryland to launch the device and is looking to expand its pilot to California, Massachusetts and Georgia in 2019.