Kansas teen is the youngest on Forbes' 30 Under 30 health care list

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LENEXA, Kan. (KMBC) -

A Lenexa, Kansas, teen is making headlines for possibly changing the future of health care.

Her work might one day help your loved one fight a deadly disease.

At just 18 years old, Erin Smith is four years younger than the next youngest person on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 health care list.

“That was exciting, when I got the email from them with the link to the list,” Smith said.

The list recognizes young entrepreneurs from around the country.

“It’s been really amazing to have this time and to have such a singular focus,” she said.

Smith is developing Faceprint, a diagnostic and monitoring tool that could one day help with early detection of Parkinson’s disease using a video camera.

She was 16 years old when she got the idea. So much has changed since then.

Smith became one of 20 Thiel fellows who received $100,000 to develop her idea for two years.

“Like absolutely mind-boggling for me to have known back then,” she said. “But it also makes me really hopeful and really excited for the future.”

She’s launched international studies and hopes to start clinical trials in 2019.

“Thinking back, when I started working on this idea, I would have never imagined what it would really grow into,” she said.

Her advice to others – don’t wait to live your dream.

“Don’t wait to get started,” she said. “Get started building something today, because today is the optimal time to get started.”

When her Thiel fellowship ends, she plans to start school at Stanford University in 2020.

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