Meet Three FemTech Founders Closing The Racial Health Gap For Black Women


The US healthcare system is riddled with disparities in levels of access, quality of treatment, and overall outcomes varying by race and gender. Unfortunately, Black women disproportionately occupy the disadvantaged side of this equation. The statistics are concerning

Black women face disproportionate risks of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, lupus, and multiple cancers. Compared to white women, they are twice as likely to develop diabetes after age 55 or have uncontrolled blood pressure. Boston University’s ongoing study on Black women’s health highlights that systemic factors, including the impact of racism on socioeconomics, contribute to challenges in affording and accessing quality healthcare. 

But, beyond these overarching systemic barriers and adverse impacts of racism on Black women’s health, lies an additional issue: dismissive treatment. Often, healthcare professionals fail to take our concerns seriously, downplay our symptoms, or neglect to provide necessary attention and care. More than just problematic; the numbers signal a pressing need for targeted interventions. 

But what if we could minimize these challenges? Imagine a scenario where Black women could consistently access reliable and trustworthy medical professionals who genuinely respected, actively listened to, and earnestly addressed their concerns. It’s a reality some FemTech founders hope to create. 

Short for “female technology,” FemTech encompasses a range of digital health services catering to women’s health needs. For founders creating targeted interventions to combat disparities negatively impacting Black women’s health, the technology could mean the difference between life and death. 

ESSENCE spoke with FemTech founders and funders leveraging technology to improve health equity and bridge the health gap for Black women’s wellbeing. 

InovCares: A Culturally Tailored Approach to OBGYN Care

Meet Three FemTech Founders Closing The Racial Health Gap For Black Women

Black mothers confront alarming rates of maternal mortality, and the crisis has only intensified over the last two decades. FemTech founder Mohamed Kamara is intimately familiar with the impact of this crisis.  

In 2017, he faced an unimaginable tragedy when his sister passed away during childbirth, leaving behind two children in her wake. “The loss, and especially losing her that way, left a hole in me and the entire family,” he shared with ESSENCE as he reflected on that moment. Following the life-altering event, Kamara took on the role of custodial uncle for his niece and nephew. However, the family was struck by another devastating blow shortly after that when his aunt tragically succumbed to complications from preeclampsia while in the delivery room. The profound tragedies became a catalyst, motivating him to find solutions to the pervasive challenges surrounding Black women’s maternal health. 

As a result, Kamara pioneered InovCares, a groundbreaking FemTech platform designed to provide culturally sensitive virtual OB-GYN care tailored for Black women and other marginalized groups. Through the app, users gain access to culturally competent healthcare professionals who cater to various health needs such as fertility, childbirth, breastfeeding, and more. Core to the company’s mission is a commitment to ensuring quality healthcare access for demographics of women often overlooked in traditional healthcare settings. His collaboration with Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company fortified this vision. The partnership merges InovCares’ innovative virtual OB-GYN services with Cost Plus Drugs‘ capability to offer reduced-cost prescription medications. 

Kamara’s journey from personal tragedy to FemTech innovation embodies hope and highlights the potential for targeted solutions for Black women’s healthcare trajectories.

Motherocity: Pioneering Postpartum Solutions 

Meet Three FemTech Founders Closing The Racial Health Gap For Black Women

Following the birth of her first child, Lydia Simmons recalls her obstetrician’s reassurance: “You have a touch of anemia, but you’ll be fine. Just eat well.” However, the guidance significantly undersold the severity of her pregnancy-induced anemia. “It wasn’t clear how much this thing could escalate,” Simmons told ESSENCE. “Crucial details were omitted.” She wasn’t made aware that the condition could trigger severe postpartum depression (PPD), and for Simmons, it did. 

Battling PPD with minimal guidance, Lydia and her husband were left to navigate the complexities alone. They crafted a customized postpartum care plan, conducting thorough research and tapping into available resources. Yet, a lingering worry persisted for Simmons: “What if we couldn’t afford the extra support we needed? What if we didn’t have the resources to go outside our [insurance] network?” This self-questioning reflects a broader issue within maternal healthcare—up to 28% of Black women experience postpartum depression with insufficient access to comprehensive support and care.

Armed with research and personal experience, Simmons founded Motherocity, a 52-week post-childbirth health guide that uses AI to assess risks and craft individualized care plans for users. It’s a transformative solution for mothers facing the challenges Simmons once experienced, contributing to the array of FemTech solutions focused on filling the gaps in Black women’s healthcare.

Incredible Health: Bridging Gaps in Healthcare Labor Forces

Meet Three FemTech Founders Closing The Racial Health Gap For Black Women

Ask any healthcare professional or anyone closely associated with the medical field, and they will likely affirm that the healthcare system is a high-stress working environment marked by overburdened workforces, widespread burnout, and increasing turnover. Dr. Iman Abuzeid, co-founder of Incredible Health, is no exception. 

“My co-founder, Rome Portlock, and I come from families deeply connected to healthcare. We heard about nurse staffing shortages and nurses struggling to find roles,” she told ESSENCE. “We knew there had to be a better way to quickly and cost-effectively staff hospitals with permanent workers.” 

That conversation would ultimately result in the 2017 launch of their healthcare staffing platform. In 2020, Incredible Health gained incredible momentum as the pandemic intensified pre-existing nursing shortages. The technology would go on to reach a $1.65 billion valuation, making Dr. Abuzeid one of only nine Black and Latina women founders to attain unicorn status. 

Today, one in four nurses use the app, with over 700 hospitals, including HCA, Kaiser Permanente, and Cedars-Sinai, registered on the platform. While technically more health tech than FemTech, Incredible Health empowers laborers in an industry, where Black women comprise 23% of the labor force.

With founders such as Abuzeid, Simmons, and Kamara spearheading potentially life-saving healthcare interventions, the FemTech movement emerges as a promising avenue for delivering essential healthcare solutions tailored for Black women’s needs.


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