Interview with Health Start-Up Founder Cornelius Palm – Happyr Health
Cornelius Palm is one of the co-founders of the health start-up Happyr Health, an app that provides mobile-first care to teens with chronic pain, starting with migraine. With the Happyr Health app, teens can track their daily mood and log their migraine symptoms for increased resilience and wellbeing. Cornelius is a Changemaker Student Ambassador and has regularly attended Changemaker events. He has won the UK Young Innovators Award and was highly commended and awarded funding through the Changemaker Seed Fund. We got to interview him and hear about how Homerton Changemakers has impacted his initiative.
Cornelius Palm, CEO and Co-Founder of Happyr Health
Cornelius Palm is one of the co-founders of the health start-up Happyr Health, an app that provides mobile-first care to teens with chronic pain, starting with migraine. Globally, 29% of young people experience chronic pain; it affects their social and emotional wellbeing severely. With the AI-based Pain Tamer app, that personally matches evidence-based techniques to patient needs, Happyr Health puts playful pain management in the hands of 135 million young people, aiming to reduce +50% of their pain. Cornelius is a Changemaker Student Ambassador and has regularly attended Changemaker events. He has won the UK Young Innovators Award and was highly commended and awarded funding through the Changemaker Seed Fund. We got to interview him and hear about how Homerton Changemakers has impacted his initiative.
Why are you doing this project?
1 in 4 young people experiences chronic pain. Like I did. Like Nicola, my co-founder does. There is an evidence-based, recommended standard out there that includes emotional and social support. Yet, this bio-psycho-social gold standard of paediatric chronic pain management currently is inaccessible (lack of experts, distance, costs) to a majority of the young patient population. Chronic pain management in young people is under recognized, under researched, under funded and under treated. Those affected experience injustice and inequity. Although self-management and behavioural interventions are recommended, doctors and parents mainly treat biological symptoms. Paediatric chronic pain requires continuous and complex self-management that often fails outside of hospitals. Consequently, young people with chronic pain often develop into adults with chronic pain, costing annually (£462bn (US) more than heart diseases (£225bn), cancer (£177bn), and diabetes (£177bn). We help young people with chronic pain because we know how difficult it is and how to do it better.
What do you think the current impact of your project is on your studies, on society, and on the world?
We cannot (yet) make any statements about health improvements through our apps and digital services. We are therefore all the more pleased to receive positive feedback from every single user, when we experience individuals as less lonely, more self-confident and more resilient in dealing with migraine, and when doctors are happy to recommend us out of conviction. Currently, we are bringing a series of small things together, making persistent change one patient at a time.
How has Homerton Changemakers influenced you in this project?
My dream of raising a resilient generation of young chronic pain patients is a very personal one. I spent my childhood and adolescence with chronic abdominal pain. I know what it means to be different. To be weak and helpless. But I also know that there are alternatives. That with the right support, everyone can rise and do good. I want to share this personal path to inspire others. Homerton Changemakers taught me that no matter how large the change we desire to create, it has to start within me. Along with my studies in impact entrepreneurship, I have learned that something as personal as entrepreneurship can be an extension of my personality. My personality, values and motivations have been further discovered, shaped, and expressed with Homerton Changemakers. I have gained the confidence to act as a positive role model for young impact entrepreneurs.