An alumnus who co-founded a health care company that offers primary care, multispecialty and urgent care options to 1.6 million patients throughout the U.S. has been awarded Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s highest honor.
Tim Barry ’93, chair and CEO of VillageMD, has been named Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2024. He will be honored on campus April 11-12 at the Entrepreneurship at Cornell Celebration Event and will speak Nov. 15 at the Eclectic Convergence Conference at Cornell Tech in New York City.
Barry founded VillageMD in 2013 with the idea that he could use technology, population insights and a network of expert health care professionals to provide high-quality care, better patient outcomes and a reduction in total costs.
VillageMD offers care through Village Medical, Summit Health, and CityMD, the company’s urgent care service in the New York-New Jersey area, employing a workforce of 20,000 people. The company has hundreds of practice locations in markets across the U.S., including in Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. VillageMD also operates Village Medical at Walgreens practices, which deliver full-service, comprehensive primary care.
“Tim Barry is the quintessential Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year,” said Zach Shulman ’87, J.D. ’90, director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell. “VillageMD was founded to solve some of the most vexing problems in health care and its growth epitomizes what happens when an entrepreneur uncovers a pain point and presents an innovative remedy and persistent drive.”
Barry has spent his career creating solutions to help health care providers and their patients, including running an independent physician association, a Medicare Advantage plan and a population health business. He earned his undergraduate degree in agricultural economics through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He also has a graduate degree from Michigan State University.
“I was very emotional when I got the call from Zach,” Barry said. “As someone who grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, then had the chance to go to Cornell, there’s no question the experience I had at Cornell opened my eyes to the art of the possible. And that all led to me being an entrepreneur.”
Barry founded his first company in his 20s, investing all of his savings and time into the idea, but that company failed. Thankfully, he said, his wife saw the failure as a learning experience and encouraged him to continue trying new ventures on the side while he worked in larger companies.
“I feel like the U.S. health care system is failing Americans across the board and they deserve better,” he said. Now, after 11 years, “we’ve really had a quantifiable impact on the lives of millions of people, but there’s still more to be done.”
In 2023, Barry was named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 100 Most Influential People. Village Medical’s “New Way to Well,” campaign, which is aimed at patients, particularly seniors, won a Healthcare Marketing Impact award from Ad Age in 2023 and the TITAN Health award.
Entrepreneurship at Cornell gives the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year award annually to a Cornellian who exemplifies entrepreneurial achievement, impact on humanity and an inspirational story or business outcome.
Kathy Hovis is a writer for Entrepreneurship at Cornell.