Dr. Alexander Everest has over 20 years of experience in key positions in the healthcare industry. He started off as a student at the VA Medical Center and also learned the art of health care administration from his late father Dr. Edwin Everest. After working at the VA for four years, he joined his father’s firm at West Coast Healthcare Consultants. While working, Dr. Everest worked towards a doctorate in Healthcare and Business Administration, which he achieved in 2014 and then joined his father’s firm full time.
All the while, Dr. Everest and his father had noticed that in their training of healthcare professionals from overseas the candidates would face various roadblocks on their path to becoming a licensed physician in the United States, everything from preparedness to discrimination in the residency placement process. After his father passed in 2008, Dr. Everest took the reins of the business and developed it into ResidenceMatch.com, a sophisticated website that provides a diverse set of consulting services to aspiring physicians who need a leg up in the incredibly complex and daily-changing medical residency process.
Meanwhile, Dr. Everest’s passion for higher learning continues as he is now pursuing a Doctorate in Theology and Biblical Studies. This passion also dovetails with his charity work with the organization Children of the Night, which helps to rescue young girls and boys from sex trafficking.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
There’s a demand and a need for our business. Foreign physicians may have passed all their exams but when they come to the US, they are forced to do things like driving taxis because they can’t break through the bureaucracy to get their boards. This is a real travesty because there’s so much positive potential in them, but the uneven playing field keeps many of them on the sidelines. We go to hospitals and healthcare centers and we lobby for them. We create educational experiences where we can have our physicians come in and prove themselves that they’re up to par or, if they’re not up to par, we create educational experiences that get them up to par so they can join the American healthcare system. There’s not a company that used to do that before.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is very busy. New things hit my desk every day. There’s always a new need greater than the last. There’s always a compelling story. Currently, we’re helping a young man guide his way through medical school. He has top honors, top GPA, graduated magna cum laude, but he was unable to navigate through medical school. He’s a young, soft-spoken individual, and I feel like on paper he’s stellar, but when he presents himself, people probably just write him off. We’re giving him coaching and training and he’s on track to success. He’s more than just a piece of paper now. People are paying attention to him.
Every day around here, we are working and building one career at a time, one physician at a time. Ultimately, it involves screening the candidates. We have an entire team that does the screening, led by me. I couldn’t do it without my team. I definitely can’t take the credit for everything, that’s for sure.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I just see a need and then make a plan for how to make solutions happen. It’s really the universities and healthcare systems who dictate what we need to do in regard to connecting our physicians with residencies. But if there’s a change in healthcare guidelines, we adapt to that and create an educational opportunity with our clinical partners that allows our candidates to adapt as well.
What’s one trend that excites you?
There is a push for expanding primary care services and creating more educational opportunities for physicians that excites me. We do need to create more teaching programs because there is a primary care shortage in Southern California and the nation in general. The healthcare industry in rural areas needs more teaching opportunities, as well as the densely populated cities. All sectors are lacking primary care practitioners. Foreign physicians can fill such a great need, and our politicians and our leaders in healthcare are finally understanding that fact, and I’m excited that we can get well-deserving physicians those opportunities to fill those voids. We have enough talent in our country to fill that void but again, we first need to send them through the educational process and that’s where the gridlock is. That’s what we’re resolving.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I open the doors that say “no.” And I’ll push and I’ll push and I’ll push. I don’t take no for an answer. If a “no” is given, I always find a way that we can make something happen where all mutual interests are aligned and positive in all directions.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell myself to slow down in life a little bit and enjoy life a little bit more. I tend to be a workaholic. I’m just so passionate about helping people that sometimes I forget myself and work too much.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe there’s real discrimination in the healthcare industry against foreign physicians. It’s not a racial discrimination, per se, but it’s the kind where there’s favoritism on what candidate to take, what candidates not to take. It’s very political. You may or may not agree with me, but it’s true. There’s money coming into these major institutions that’s buying their way for physicians of their choosing to go into key positions. So, if a medical school puts physicians in the program at those key positions, whose candidates do you think they’re going to take? It’s a very biased system that closes the door for otherwise qualified candidates that should have an equal chance at those positions. Entities like the Chinese government are coming in and giving ginormous grants to medical centers and all of a sudden you see a program filled with all their favorite candidates. Well, follow the money. I’m fighting against that, one candidate at a time. I have been successful being a champion of equality. I’m not the most popular but I will continue to do it because it’s my heart.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Nobody can do it alone, so have a good team and follow through on things.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our strategy is being very careful on who we hire, and as far as our candidates, our screening is our success. We have key clinicians who are landmarks in their respective fields. They screen our candidates to see if they’re clinically competent. Our candidates take aptitude tests and attitude tests with psychiatrists and psychologists.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
If an angel came to me and said that he would make your biggest failure disappear, but in turn I would have to forget what I learned from it, I would reject that offer. The experience is too valuable to me.
One of my biggest failures was trusting the wrong people. Having a solid foundation and a solid network is so important, and bringing on the wrong person in that network can jeopardize everything. Don’t work and trust the wrong people. That’s the key in life. I overcame it through perseverance. I fought for what’s right. The truth came out. People will lie and try to hurt others to help them succeed and to put you down. At the end of the day, the truth will always prevail if you fight hard enough for it. I just fought for the truth and the truth won.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A great idea would come in the form of end of life care algorithms that would accurately predict when a patient is suitable for home care, using AI. Algorithms are not being used at this time in this field, but they are very commonly used in healthcare in general. Most people don’t know that your clinical diagnosis is being generated by Watson, which is an IBM super machine. It’s already being used.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Buying Bibles and giving them away. I gave them to my local church to distribute.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use common management software like Outlook and Google Calendar. They help to keep us on track.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Holy Bible. Even if you’re not into reading the Bible, it has a lot of real-life wisdom. Starting from the book of Proverbs, which is 31 chapters, you can read a chapter a day for a whole month. It gives you practical knowledge, and I found it to be a great tool for me. The rest of the Bible has great theology, as well.
What is your favorite quote?
As an American and a patriot, I like “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” We live in a great country with a lot of opportunities, and it’s up to all of us to be patriots and keep this country going for our future generations. We want America to stay the leader in healthcare and sciences and medical advances. For an evangelical person like me, evangelizing the world, these are all going to be things I am going to keep remind others that are up to us to maintain for future generations.
• Commitment and dedication. You have to be committed and dedicated to what you do.
• Stay focused.
• Having a good team behind you is necessary.
• Screen the people you let into your life. Don’t let them in so easily.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.