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Spora Health Launches Culturally Centered Care for People of Color
We are excited to introduce you to the newest addition to the Human family: Dan Miller and the Spora Health team. Spora Health is working…
We are excited to introduce you to the newest addition to the Human family: Dan Miller and the Spora Health team. Spora Health is working to eliminate racial disparities in healthcare by providing primary care for people of color. As the US healthcare system adopts more value-based care models, primary care physicians (PCPs) are widely believed to be best positioned to improve health outcomes and quarterback patients through the healthcare system — even across specialists. However, marginalized groups ranging from women to people of color sometimes feel that when they report symptoms of pain, they are dismissed by doctors. Additionally, many Black Americans do not trust healthcare providers to act in their best interests. So, last winter, when we heard that Dan was building a trusted relationship between people of color and PCPs to enable better health outcomes, we were immediately interested in meeting him. Later, Dan joined our Humans in the Wild cohort of EIRs focused on the areas of health and wellness. We were quickly impressed by his vision, experience, and passion, and we are happy to share that we led his first round of financing with participation from Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital, TechStars, Citylight Capital, Stardust Equity, and notable healthcare founders including Carolyn Witte of Tia.
Why Dan decided to build Spora Health
Dan builds healthcare companies to solve the problems that he has seen first hand. In Dan’s late twenties, he was experiencing chronic anxiety for the first time. He decided to test out a teletherapy application to speak to a therapist. He was so underwhelmed by the experience, that instead of booking a second session, he put together a team and built Level Therapy, a virtual mental health practice that provides access to licensed psychotherapists and software to manage anxiety and depression. In addition to adding a fresh perspective to the teletherapy space, this award winning platform led to numerous industry-wide branding and UX changes. After starting multiple companies and products as an entrepreneur and intrapreneur, Dan decided that he only wanted to work on complex problems he is uniquely equipped to solve. And the most glaring, complex problem he saw was addressing a root cause of healthcare disparities: primary care for the 111M people of color in the United States.
Disparities in healthcare design
Racial disparities in healthcare are a complex problem, but they are a product of design. Dan started Spora Health to redesign healthcare by re-building each step of the care journey through culturally centered care. Dan is an experienced product designer who believes the issues facing people of color in healthcare are a byproduct of how the US healthcare system has been designed. So he is planning on redesigning the system. For example, Spora uses telehealth both to expand the reach of minority physicians and to increase patients’ access and proximity to doctors. Furthermore, Dan is already experienced in launching virtual health products from his previous company, Level Therapy. As a Black male partnered up with a Black, male, chief medical officer (~1.5% of current American physicians are Black males), Dan and his team are personally aware and affected by healthcare disparities amongst people of color. In fact, the name Spora Health is rooted in the word “diaspora.”
Disparities in health outcomes
Dan believes that being Black in America is bad for your health. Some macro trends leading to disparities in health outcomes for Black Americans are: social determinants of health (SDoH), lack of health insurance, lack of access to primary care physicians, and the direct link between mental and physical health. Spora is addressing these inequalities head-on. Many of the disparities in health outcomes can be clearly seen through mortality rates. Black Americans historically have shorter life expectancies in comparison to white Americans. Current mortality disparities are evident in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and infant mortality. Black Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. What we can take away from these staggering stats is that proactive efforts must be taken throughout health systems to eliminate the conscious and unconscious differences in quality of care provided, and the public and private sectors must take more action to address the social determinants of health.
A new category of care
Spora Health is part of a new category of care. Culture Centered Care re-examines the why and how behind each step of the patient journey, building an experience that takes into account the cultural norms of their patients. The Spora Health digital and clinical teams reflect the communities they are serving. Their providers will be trained on cultural competency. Their care teams use data, product, and provider access for early detection and reversal of chronic conditions.
Read more about Spora in their recent feature in TechCrunch here.