For connecting patients and fighting healthcare misinformation.
Mary Ray, one of the co-founders of chronic care health social network MyHealthTeams, never expected to need the service herself. But in January 2020, Ray was diagnosed with breast cancer. The next several months involved intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and gave her a lens into how millions of MyHealthTeams members used the company’s support networks.
MyHealthTeams ramped up its editorial and medical content, hosting live Q&As with doctors and Covid-19 vaccine outreach. From January 2020 to July 2021, its user base grew by 20 percent; it now has 2.75 million registered members. Engagement also went up by 30 percent during that period. The company launched four new social networks: MyAsthmaTeam, MyOvarianCancerTeam, MyLungCancerTeam, and MyAmyloidosisTeam, bringing the total to 48 patient networks.
But bringing patients together is only a part of MyHealthTeams’ job, as far as Ray is concerned. Delivering accurate, factual information and combating misinformation is another task the company takes very seriously. “It’s not just about the social connections, which really are critical and getting a lot of all of us through this pandemic. But reliable, trustworthy, authoritative information is key,” says Ray.--Amrita Khalid
Kelly Ann Collins
For promoting Covid testing in vulnerable rural and minority communities.
In the midst of a pandemic, Vult Lab founder and CEO Kelly Ann Collins relocated to her grandparents’ farm in West Virginia. The digital agency focused on humanitarian causes, which Collins founded in 2013, was already losing clients. Collins’s hometown of Morgantown had become a hot spot for Covid in the state, and many of her family members had come down with the virus.
One of Vult Lab’s operating principles is to use social media for good. Through social media, the business began spreading the word about Covid-19 tests. This drew the attention of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), which asked Vult Lab to create a coalition to help advance coronavirus testing in rural and minority communities.
The company recruited the National Rural Health Association, Quest Diagnostics, and a host of other organizations on initiatives to fight the pandemic. It is now working on a five-year public health outreach project with the CDC and the NMQF’s Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity. Vult Lab also partnered with Twitter for Good, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and NMQF to create a “Covid Diaries” series that documents how the pandemic is playing out in vulnerable communities. Through the online fan convention HomeCon, the company has been holding live events on Twitch to spread vaccine awareness.--Amrita Khalid
For designing a better way to age gracefully.
Alexandra Fennell and Mia Abbruzzese, the two co-founders of Attn: Grace, are not only just running a business together. The married couple launched the company last year while raising their four young children in the middle of a pandemic. Attn: Grace sells a line of incontinence care products for women over 50, a demographic constantly overlooked by industries ranging from fashion to beauty to health care. The company launched in June 2020, and offers pads, wipes, briefs, and liners. Fennell says it plans on launching an anti-rash skin cream in the near future.
In customer testimonials, Fennell says she noticed many older women had become so used to limited and drab options for personal hygiene products that they simply didn’t expect anything better to come along. Which is why there’s a bigger mission behind Attn: Grace: The company hopes to show that getting older should be a cause for celebration. “I'd like to think that we're going to help start a movement to really shift how we perceive the latter stages of life,” says Fennell.--Amrita Khalid
For bringing banking--and cryptocurrency--to the unbanked.
Flori Marquez credits her relatives in Argentina for the idea behind cryptocurrency startup BlockFi. She wanted them, and other communities traditionally excluded from the financial system, to have an accessible path to banking. The company offers no-minimum, mobile banking accounts to individuals regardless of geographic location or credit worthiness.
“The plan is to bridge the worlds of traditional finance and blockchain and enable financial empowerment for clients on a global scale,” says Marquez.
BlockFi launched in 2018, and in its first year raised its Series A, B, and C financing rounds. It drew more than $500 million in VC backing from investors including Valar Ventures, Morgan Creek, Fidelity, and Susquehanna. Last year, the company launched the world’s first bitcoin rewards credit card in partnership with Visa. The U.S.-based waitlist for new clients had over 400,000 people.
As a Hispanic woman who is a leader in the world of finance, Marquez has made it her mission to support the financial health of women and other groups who historically haven’t had access to generational wealth. “For some reason, crypto is hugely male-dominated, and that segment of the world shouldn’t be the only ones to experience this new technology and its upside,” says Marquez. --Amrita Khalid
For giving women of color their own supplement line.
As a Black woman, Samia Gore felt the health and wellness industry didn’t create products with women like her in mind. Which is why she launched Body Complete Rx, a company that makes supplements and nutritional powders, in 2017. Turns out, millions of women of color were on board. The brand has so far grossed more than $10 million in sales. Last year, BCRX partnered with the Vitamin Shoppe, making it the first Black female-owned brand ever sold in the chain’s retail locations.
Gore, who launched Body Complete as a result of her own weight-loss journey, created the brand’s first product, TRIM, to help women with similar goals. The company offers a variety of supplements intended to boost metabolism and support weight loss. Now Body Complete has expanded well beyond weight management into fully integrated nutrition, launching a line of multivitamins for men and women and capsules to boost immunity and mood. Also new to the lineup are protein powders and a pre-workout powder. “Our supplements, our formulas, were created for everyone, so they are for everyone, but with women of color in mind,” Gore says.--Amrita Khalid