He was standing in the lobby of Severance Hospital, wearing a white gown with stethoscope. He began to tell about his life story as a CEO of FREEMED, a Social Business that aims to create a new medical culture in Korea. His speech was full of confidence and strong faith to achieve his dream. *The Yonsei Annals* introduces Song Ho-won (Jr. Dept. of Medicine), a current CEO of FREEMED and future doctor.
Annals: How did you first make the decision to start FREEMED?
Song: It was last October when I made a rough sketch of FREEMED. At that time, I was a leader of *Uichung*, a student medical service club in the Col. of Medicine. I was highly motivated to help those patients who could not afford to go to the hospital. However, I felt frustrated when I realized that our activities were very limited and short-term due to insufficient financial support from the school. To overcome this problem, I decided to start my own business that could provide long-term medical services. While pondering many things, I heard of the concept of a Social Business, which reinvests earnings for the public welfare, such as the environment and health.
Tell us about the values that FREEMED pursues.
FREEMED seeks to make a society where every patient can get suitable medical services without worrying about the cost. Although there are already many volunteer groups run on donations, most of the homeless and foreign workers are still taking low-quality treatments because of the volunteers’ financial limitations. Our vision is to make up for the weak points in the medical environment of Korea, providing the underprivileged with practical aid either for free or for a low price.
How does FREEMED realize its vision?
Our first and most primary project is “FREEMED bus,” which provides free medical offices on every weekend at Eulji-ro and Maseok Furniture Development, using our remodeled private bus. These two places are the symbolic areas of “medical blind spots” in Korea. We cover dental care, physical therapy, and internal diagnosis, examining diabetes, hyperpiesia, etc. In addition, our Home Visiting Team provides patients with a first-aid kit and cleans their rooms to communicate the importance of hygiene.
What was your biggest challenge after you started the business?
Because FREEMED is not a private company that ultimately pursues economic goals, there were no particular obstacles related to profitability. As director, however, I have been confronted with problems related to human relationships. I could not decide what type of leader I should become when dealing with the many people concerned. I found there is no right answer to this question, but I try to find a balance when there is a conflict among the staff, and try to be a respected leader.
Yonseians should have more sense of responsibility and willingness to share with our society. If you invest 100% of your time and energy in developing yourself, you can get a maximum of 100% for your effort. However, if you give out 10% of 100 to other people, you will get much more in return, resulting in a sum of 110 or 120. I also hope many Yonseians search for and carry out these kinds of valuable works and become responsible for our society.