Black Founders in Health Technology and Innovation Join the SOS Council to Accelerate Solutions to End Disparities in COVID19 Health Outcomes: “We’ve Got to Get Off the Bench.”

Atlanta, GA – Black startup founders and leaders in health technology and innovation have joined the SOS Council to leverage data, technology, and community engagement to address the growing disparities in Black Americans’ experiences of the COVID19 crisis.

These founders are coming together to amplify and accelerate solutions originating in the Black community for the benefit of the Black community as the novel coronavirus continues have a disproportionate effect on Black Americans.

“According to The COVID Tracking Project, Black Americans are dying at 2.5 times the rate of White Americans,” said SOS Council Founding Member Theodore Harvey. “That’s the result of long-standing, systemic inequities in health care access and treatment. Those inequities continue, with dire implications for treatments and vaccines in development.”

Added Amin Harvey, also an SOS Council Founding Member, “The SOS Council is bringing together Black leaders in health innovation to deliver meaningful solutions for the Black community, leveraging sector-leading technological and medical expertise. We are committing to doing what it takes to Save Our Selves.”

Founders in health technology and innovation joining the SOS Council this week include:

Dr. Nana Afoh-Manin, MD, MPH, Founder, Shared Harvest | myCovidMD®

Dr. Afoh-Manin is an emergency doctor, public health practitioner, social entrepreneur and

humanitarian relief consultant with an extensive track record of being a champion for health equity. As founder of Shared Harvest | myCovidMD, she extended her career in medicine to ensure equal access to testing and wrap-around services for African American communities that were facing the highest rates of mortality due to the coronavirus. myCovidMD also assists small businesses and production studios with safety and compliance strategies with proceeds helping to increase testing in low resourced communities. MyCovidMD has provided free pop-up community-based testing sites to over 4000 people and has launched the myCovidMD App to provide Contact Tethering and further outreach so that no individual is left behind.

Kornelius Bankston, Managing Partner, techPLUG

Bankston has spent his career in health innovation after earning a graduate degree in Biomolecular Chemistry at Emory University and working with and being mentored by Dr. Dennis Liotta. Dr. Liotta codeveloped Emtriva that was sold to Gilead Sciences in 2005. Bankston managed industry-sponsored clinical trials at Morehouse School of Medicine with a focus on engaging populations of color in clinical research.

“I’m joining the SOS Council because we need more people who look like us to be on the front lines of tackling the problem of health inequities in this country. The networks of leaders joining the SOS Council will help close gaps in innovation, affordability, and access for Black Americans,” explained Bankston.

Nile Thompson, CEO and Co-Founder, and Darryle Farrar, COO and Co-Founder ID-Tech Molecular Laboratories 

After a decade working in clinical research site management, including working with Doctors of color in greater Atlanta helping them and their patients get involved in clinical research, Thompson and Farrar turned their attention to labs. They have founded a high-volume lab in the heart of the Opportunity Zone in Atlanta, a COVID19 hot spot, with current capabilities to process 1,500 samples a day. To meet the need for rapid Covid19 test results, they are operating the lab around the clock, seven days a week, and investing in additional capacity with a goal of processing 4,000 samples per day. They are also launching a mobile phlebotomy lab with proprietary software enabling medical providers to request COVID19 testing to be collected at patient’s homes.

“We’re joining the SOS Council because we want to be part of groups centered in the Black community that are taking responsibility for solving health disparities. We agree that we have what we need to Save Our Selves, and we know we’re the only ones who can make it happen,” said Thompson.

“Black leaders in health innovation and technology have to get ourselves off the bench and get into this fight on the ground,” added Farrar.

Tiffany Jordan, Co-Founder/Chief Development Officer, Acclinate Genetics

Tiffany Jordan is an innovator and social entrepreneur with a relentless drive for diversity, equity and inclusion. As co-founder of Acclinate Genetics, Jordan is accelerating the inclusion of diverse people in clinical trials to ensure therapeutics are safe and effective across the populations they are intended to help – a critical challenge for COVID19-related drugs. Acclinate’s proprietary, HIPAA compliant platform, e-DICT, utilizes AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to automate the standard identification, education, engagement, and retention of participants in genomic research and clinical trials. Acclinate is transforming the current industry “status quo” by separating the education and engagement phases from the participation and retention phases in clinical recruitment. This disruptive approach allows biopharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations to decrease the cost of drug development, increase the speed of drug approval, and can easily integrate with virtual clinical trials. Including more minorities and underrepresented communities in clinical research will also aid in the discovery of new drugs.

“If we really want to create change, we have to collaborate and not just do our own thing,” Jordan noted. “The SOS Council is convening a network of Black leaders with the commitment, capacity, expertise, and track record to make a real difference by prioritizing people of color, not just bringing us in as an afterthought. We are the people we represent.

Kistein Monkhouse, MPA, Founder/CEO, Patient Orator

Monkhouse is the CEO & founder of ​Patient Orator​, a digital health startup that is using a mobile app to help underserved patients document their medical symptoms to empower their voices in their healthcare experience. She is a public policy expert and former healthcare frontline staff who saw an urgent need to build bridges across communities in healthcare.  She is an award-winning documentarian of the documentary Humanizing Health Care, a narrative-driven emotionally paced film about healthcare experiences in the United States. Kistein is an advisory board member of We The Patients NY, an initiative by the Community Service Society of NY. She is a patient advocate fighting to dismantle systemic inequities that cause health disparities across the healthcare ecosystem.

“I’m joining the SOS Council to help change the narrative of disempowerment to self-empowerment not only for the voices of individuals but for populations of people that are disproportionately impacted by systemic health inequities,” said Monkhouse. Black and  Brown communities, lower-income communities have endured pain and suffering for far too long without validation of such suffering from the medical industry.”

Joshua Scales, Founder & CEO, Uniti Health 

Scales launched Uniti Health to help providers and organizations develop digital and

virtual healthcare and access strategies. As a seasoned Health Information Technology executive,his background includes ahead-of-the-curve leadership across a variety of telehealth roles and innovations, making him a recognized and sought-after expert on the implementation of telehealth strategies, as the COVID crisis accelerated the need and availability of telehealth services.

“I’m joining the SOS Council to support the use of innovative technologies focused on improving healthcare outcomes for the black, brown, and underserved communities,” said Scales.