A new platform from co-founders Ashlee Wisdom (CEO) and Eddwina Bright (CPO), Health In Her Hue, helps Black women find culturally sensitive healthcare options tailored to their specific wants and needs from medical professionals.
Wisdom and Bright created the platform as a means of combating issues in the healthcare system that leave many Black women in America feeling helpless and without answers. Initially launched in 2018, the New York City-based co-founders were able to secure $1 million in pre-seed funding last summer, according to The Guardian, who recently interviewed the two entrepreneurs.
“Fundraising is never a walk in the park, especially as Black women. No matter how credentialed you are, it’s hard for everyone. But then you add on the layer of the fact that there aren’t many Black women who are building venture-backed companies or get funding. We’ve experienced some challenges throughout that journey,” Wisdom explained.
Wisdom and Bright explained that they intend to use their new funding to develop a new web platform with membership experiences to offer a multitude of care and support for each individual’s specific needs.
“Ultimately, our vision for Health In Her Hue is to be the first touchpoint for women of color managing their healthcare.”
Wisdom and Bright then explained to Guardian writer Kelli Maria Korducki what led them to launching Health In Her Hue and why they found it so necessary to fill a void that existed within America’s healthcare system and its treatment of Black women:
“I was working in a toxic work environment, and I was breaking out in chronic hives. So I was going to see an allergist, who happened to be a white woman. She was a great doctor, but because we didn’t have that shared identity, it never occurred to me to tell her that I was dealing with racism and discrimination at work,” Wisdom stated.
“So long story short, she was running all these tests on me and I wasn’t allergic to anything. We couldn’t figure out what was triggering the hives. After I left the job, I realized that they were related to that stressful, toxic work environment. That got my wheels turning, and made me realize that I shared much more with my Black gynecologist. If I was more transparent and felt more comfortable sharing the full picture of what was going on in my life, that allergist would’ve been able to get to the root cause of what was triggering my hives.
At the same time, I was getting my master’s in public health, and got really tired of reading research papers about the disparate healthcare outcomes for Black women. And so I decided I wanted to do something to support Black women and women of color to better manage their health and also better navigate the US healthcare system,” Wisdom expressed.
Bright explained her own discrepancies with how the healthcare system has failed her in the past, and why it inspired the two of them to launch Health In Her Hue.
“I’d like us to help the women that we serve to advocate for themselves without having to go through really traumatic healthcare experiences. And the company happens to align with my professional experience in finance and non-profit entrepreneurship. So we definitely have a great balance of health and business expertise,” she said.
Specifically, Wisdom and Bright wanted to create a directory of Black physicians and doctors of color currently practicing throughout the US so users could easily find individuals in their area who could provide an empathetic sense of care.
Wisdom explained how one of the biggest issues they heard from Black women and women of color was how “difficult it is to find a Black doctor, or a doctor of color, on existing platforms. So that was the impetus to build out a curated directory of Black physicians across the country.
“When we launched that directory in June 2020 – given the pandemic and the racial reckoning – people were ready. Thirty-four thousand people logged in within the first week or two.”
“Separately, we also had articles and videos that people could engage with on our website, as well as a community forum where women could talk to each other. So we brought all of those components together to continue the momentum, and realized we had tens of thousands of women in our community. We only had six doctors at first, and now we have more than 1,000,” Bright added.
In terms of the future of the platform, Wisdom and Bright intend to continue to expand the community on the platform so more individuals can make their healthcare experiences easy and smooth.
Wisdom stated: “We really want to continue to grow and expand the community so that Health In Her Hue is the go-to, safe space for women of color for all things healthcare-related. That’s my overarching big vision for what we’re building.”
“I’d love for us to also become a resource for BIPOC women to better navigate not only their individual health, but the health of their families: their kids, their spouse, their parents. Because we know that community health is very important for the collective.”
“I would also like us to help support the talent pipeline of culturally sensitive health care providers. Maybe that means helping with scholarships and internships, putting students into doctor’s offices and teaching them the business of medicine. That’s a major gap in the market, which I’d love to see us fill,” Bright concluded.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.