From Physics Major to Healthcare Startup CEO

Jared Sieling is the founder of Chanl Health, a cardiac rehab startup that is booming amidst shutdowns caused by COVID-19.
Posted on April 23rd, 2021 by

by Dana Melius

From the first time Kraig Olson met teammate Jared Sieling at their initial Gustavus Adolphus College freshman football practice in 2004, he recognized his eventual roommate’s special talents.

“Jared was a good football player. Really good,” Olson said of Sieling, a hard-hitting linebacker for then-head football coach Jay Schoenebeck. “And Jared was a bright individual. He always excelled and could pick up things quickly.”

So, it didn’t surprise Olson that Sieling continued to do well after leaving the Gustavus campus and going on to a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota. That graduate degree moved Sieling towards medical devices, and then eventually towards software development for healthcare applications. After spending several years as a software engineer working with research teams and universities throughout the United States, he decided to venture out.

“Seeing all the gaps in our healthcare system and unmet opportunities to improve patient care started to bug me, I guess,” Sieling recalled. “I was kind of silly enough to go out on my own.”

Sieling was a four-year starter at linebacker for the Golden Gustie football team.

So, Sieling founded Chanl Health in 2017 and serves as the Minneapolis-based company’s CEO. It’s a virtual health care company that developed a cardiac rehab program, and allows patients who have had a heart attack to recover at home. While those first couple years were daunting at times, he acknowledged, Sieling’s network of other entrepreneurial individuals and organizations provided input and encouragement.

“Jared just found a lane and went with it,” Olson said of his friend’s move. “It seems like a really good thing he’s doing.”

His concept was targeted at these facts: Each year over 7 million patients with heart disease are instructed to participate in cardiac rehab after being hit by a major cardiac event. But despite the proven benefits of rehab, Sieling says as many as 80% of them never enroll. The result? A high level of future complications, more hospital trips and premature deaths.

Barbra Fagan become Sieling’s business partner two years later, after a 30-year career in cardiac rehab. Fagan provides a simple, yet impressive testimony to his talents and ongoing efforts.

“The man’s amazing,” Fagan says.

The duo met at an April 2019 national conference after a friend of Fagan’s told her: “I need you to meet this guy.” Sieling’s vision and development of a virtual cardiac rehab program was gaining attention. Fagan was impressed.

“I thought, ‘He needs someone from the clinical side,’’ Fagan recalled. But Sieling’s vision, demeanor, and virtual platform plans hooked her into dropping a business development career, even thoughts of retirement, and she joined Sieling at Chanl Health.

“This is the best thing that I’ve done in my career,” Fagan said. “We really needed to look at alternative levels of care.”

After some “incremental growth” with the company,  “COVID hit, and the whole world changed,” Fagan said. And after working for an organization with as many as 15,000 employees, Chanl Health’s limited staff was at a turning point — the move to virtual health care and a quick understanding that “out of chaos and crisis comes opportunity and creativity,” she said.

Fagan said Sieling made the decision to offer their services free during the early months of the pandemic, to any hospitals who had to temporarily close the doors of their cardiac rehab programs for safety. During that time, more and more medical professionals became convinced that virtual health care was both important and could improve the health of patients.

“We are now the thought leaders in the industry as to how to better provide access (to both patients and medical professionals),” Fagan said. “It’s ever-evolving.”

Sieling appreciates Fagan’s expertise and how the healthcare industry has responded and adapted during this pandemic. It’s allowed Sieling to bring on a dozen new team members throughout the country and Chanl Health recently began a partnership with an organization serving 1,800 hospitals around the U.S.

“We’re definitely growing,” Sieling said. “When the pandemic hit, there were a lot negatives, but one silver lining is that it forced more rapid adoption of virtual healthcare options, and that will be a benefit for patients in the long run.” It also will be a benefit for Chanl Health’s business.

Sieling conducted research with physics professor Chuck Niederriter as an undergrad.

Sieling admits that he would have never predicted this journey while studying physics at Gustavus. But he recalls those days fondly, the research efforts he was drawn into, and the friendships he fostered along the way.

“There was just this sense of community that you could feel at Gustavus, even from my first visit,” Sieling recalled. “It’s a more personal, friendly, family feel.”

Fagan says Sieling has brought that same level of compassion and care into their company’s culture and path to success. And she credits his leadership for the early moves at the start of the pandemic and ongoing vision for Chanl Health’s growth and success.

“Jared’s a good listener. He listens to everyone’s input,” Fagan said. “He’s incredibly open to all of the people on our team. He’s truly a leader who gets it.”

And Fagan said the excitement of Chanl Health’s growth and expanded opportunities, despite many 12-hour days, leaves her enthused and pleased she made the leap into the virtual health industry with Sieling.

“I wouldn’t trade that guy for anybody,” Fagan says.

Sieling, a Watertown-Mayer High School graduate, now lives in Maple Grove with his wife, Erin, and their two daughters.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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