Mission: Restore is a global health digital development startup founded by NYC surgeon Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh. Mission: Restore, which operates in Africa, trains and empowers the next generation of local surgeons with skills to address critical medical needs.

Company: Mission Restore
Location: New York City and Africa


Why We Love Mission: Restore

In countries like Tanzania where Mission: Restore operates, local doctors have almost no access to surgical training.  In Tanzania, for example, there is 1 surgeon to every 20 million people. Instead of helicoptering in and doing surgeries for them, Mission: Restore teaches local doctors to do the surgery -- which is a much more sustainable idea.  “Teach them to fish vs. giving them fish!”

Mission: Restore selects countries with disproportionate doctor to patient ratios and develops partnerships with local hospitals, surgeons and community leaders, and provides training and fellowship programs for local surgeons.  Providing just one local doctor with surgery skills impacts some 250 patients. By strengthening the abilities of local surgeons, providing them with grants for higher education hands-on training, and telemedicine, the local patient to surgeon ratio gap is beginning to close.

Karina’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Karina has worked across the globe on development projects. Prior to Mission: Restore she worked for the Clinton Global Initiative. Karina was inspired to take on the daunting task of running a start-up social business because she was attracted to Mission: Restore’s highly ambitious goal of closing the massive surgery access gap in Africa.

Karina says the hardest thing about being a social entrepreneur is the isolation she feels in decision making: every call she makes is final, despite the feedback and input of her team. The best thing she says is that she is involved in an organization that is having a direct, tangible impact.

Running a High-Impact Business

Mission: Restore measures its impact based on number of surgeons that are trained, the number of individuals who gain access to safe surgeries, and how the organization continues to prove that global surgery (a “neglected stepchild of global health”) is not too expensive to implement.

Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

The most successful entrepreneurs have a few things in common, Karina says: “...practical optimism, humility, a sense of adventure, and -- of course -- curly hair.”  She also advises to make sure to keep in contact with the SIPA and the Columbia network. As an entrepreneur, contacts are often your biggest asset. Access to the Columbia community, New York City, and the opportunities at your disposal, while you are in school, are too important not to take advantage of.  Put yourself out there and immerse yourself!

Favorite Place on Campus

The office of Professor Jenny McGill who runs the Economic and Political Development (EPD) program.  I spent a lot of time there!


Learn more about Mission: Restore

SIPA Entrepreneurs Changing the World