Dr. Susan Kornstein

co-founder and executive director

Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health

Dr. Susan Kornstein’s medical and academic credentials are elite: In addition to her professor duties, she heads up VCU’s Institute for Women’s Health (designated by HHS as a National Center of Excellence) and serves as director of clinical research in VCU’s department of psychiatry. In her spare time — what little there may be of it — she has published hundreds of scientific articles, worked as a principal investigator on nearly 100 clinical trials, served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Women’s Health, and chaired the Annual Congress on Women’s Health.

That’s about six careers’ worth of achievement for most people, but Dr. Kornstein has also proved to be an asset to pharma companies hoping to ensure the utility — and credibility — of health-tech offerings.

Last year, she helped Pfizer develop Moodivator, an app designed to assist people struggling with depression. The app was developed in the wake of a 2014 survey in which 70% of patients currently being treated for a mental-health disorder said they wanted to use their smartphones to monitor their highs and lows on a daily basis.

“As awareness of the magnitude and severity of depression continues to mount, such technology as the Moodivator app represents a new and exciting frontier for helping people with depression,” Kornstein said in a statement at its unveiling. “The option to set, track, and achieve personal goals in the Moodivator app ties in nicely with the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that I use often with my patients. The opportunity for patients to track and export their mood and goal progress in easy-to-read charts is also very useful, because the progress can then be shared with doctors to help inform care decisions.”