Innovative entrepreneurs are critical to resolving health inequities. They drive creative, necessary changes to a system that has historically overlooked economically and socially marginalized populations—and that has not kept pace with emerging threats to health around the world.
However, health entrepreneurs face obstacles at almost every level of their work. This is particularly true at early stages of their businesses, when risks are often highest for new and potentially groundbreaking ideas. The entire environment and culture around early-stage entrepreneurs needs to be strong to mitigate these risks and actually foster innovation.
These realities inform how our team at Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures (JJIV) works with Echoing Green, an early-stage funder of emerging social entrepreneurs and one of the most important and recognized leaders in the field of social innovation and racial equity. A fund within the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, JJIV supports Echoing Green to identify and support diverse Fellows who are building racial equity in health through powerful new digital solutions. We are also committed to supporting these Fellows holistically—with resources for their well-being that go beyond finances and meet mental and physical needs.
In 2022, across April and October, Echoing Green selected a total of 38 Fellows, 10 of which are driving innovations at the intersection of health and equity, including 5 with a for-profit or hybrid business model. We are excited and honored to highlight those Fellows using the market to transform health and healthcare worldwide.
Mohamed Aburawi, Speetar – Libya, Egypt and Jordan
Mohamed Aburawi is a physician and founding CEO of Speetar, which improves equitable healthcare access for historically marginalized and displaced communities in countries throughout the Middle East. Speetar uses an AI-enabled telemedicine platform that is driven by the community and connects patients to a global network of language- and culture-matched specialists.
We are proud to support Mohamed also through MIT Solve’s Health Access Prize!
Nasser Diallo, Clinic+O – Africa and U.S.
Nasser Diallo is the founder and CEO of Clinic+O, which expands access to quality, affordable healthcare for under-resourced communities in West Africa by integrating mobile technology and community health best practices into primary care centers. Clinic+O aims both to eliminate barriers, like limited infrastructure, that people face when seeking basic services and to build connections between the local networks of health professionals, labs and pharmacies.
Zeenith Ebrahim, Jamii Life – South Africa
Jamii Life provides tools and training for family caregivers and health workers of color so they can improve their delivery of high-quality home care to individuals unable to access or afford it in their communities. Zeenith Ebrahim, founder of Jamii Life, draws on over a decade of experience conceptualizing and executing rail and healthcare projects across Africa to build an infrastructure of support for health workers.
We are proud to support Zeenith also through MIT Solve’s Health Access Prize!
Neo Hutiri, Pelebox – South Africa
Neo Hutiri is the founder and managing director of Pelebox, which increases access to inclusive, affordable and high-quality healthcare for patients across southern Africa. An example of this is Pelebox’s Smart Dispensing Locker System, which makes it simple and quick for patients to retrieve medications for their chronic illnesses in under 30 seconds instead of waiting for hours in the clinic.
Heather Skanes, Oasis Family Birthing Center – Alabama, U.S.
Heather Skanes is the founder and executive director of Oasis Family Birthing Center, using her OB/GYN experience to assist hundreds of women through their pregnancy journeys. Oasis Family Birthing Center improves maternal health outcomes for low-income women and birthing people of color in Alabama, increases their access to comprehensive midwifery care and supports them with a collaborative birth team that uses evidence-based obstetrics and the midwifery model of care.
Congratulations again, Echoing Green Fellows of 2022! We look forward to seeing how this cohort of leaders transforms healthcare in the years to come.
Our work with Echoing Green is part of JJIV’s broad effort to support entrepreneurship that is addressing global healthcare challenges affecting communities around the world, especially in under-resourced and diverse communities.
Learn about other ways Johnson & Johnson is working to eradicate racial and social injustice as a public health threat through Our Race to Health Equity, a $100 million commitment to promoting health equity solutions.