Lauren Vivian is the co-founder and CEO of Wepair Health, a healthcare tech startup revolutionizing how people of color access healthcare. With over 15 years of experience in healthcare and health education, she is committed to addressing the health disparities in underserved communities.
Digital health is increasingly important with healthcare organizations struggling to rebuild, especially post-pandemic. Lauren states,” Digital health offers endless possibilities for addressing the health care issues that plague traditionally marginalized communities. However, it will take a collaborative effort between members of these under-resourced communities and innovators to ensure we do not perpetuate healthcare disparities in the digital world.”
Lauren’s journey to create innovative tools that transform how people of color access health services eventually led to Wepair Health.
Read more to learn even more about Lauren and the Wepair Health story.
Tell me about yourself. How would you describe yourself?
I took a rather circuitous path before founding Wepair Health. It wasn’t until after several years of schooling and eventually attending medical school in Mexico that I found my passion. I always knew I wanted to work in healthcare, and following in my father’s footsteps to become a physician seemed the most logical path. However, during medical school, I became a mother of three. During a traumatic birthing experience with my last child, I realized I needed to do more than just practice medicine. I needed to transform the healthcare delivery process. With a mission to make health equitable and simple access, I returned to school to get my MBA. I shifted my focus to addressing the gaps within the current healthcare system.
Growing up, did you ever think you would be a business owner? What was your relationship with entrepreneurship?
I had an entrepreneurial spirit as I sold candy at school before getting shut down by the home and school departments for undercutting their prices. However, I believe my greatest influence was my parents. My father started his own business with little means. I watched how he and my mother worked diligently to grow the business. I saw the long hours they spent, the sacrifices they made, and the freedom and flexibility that came with being your boss. They fought for equity and inclusion and passed the torch to me in many ways.
Now that you are an entrepreneur, how do you stay motivated? How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?
My faith plays a huge role in my ability to stay motivated. At the core of my belief system is a desire to help less fortunate individuals. This drives me to look for more ways to build and promote equitable measures that benefit traditionally marginalized groups.
It’s one thing to stay motivated by yourself, but who would you say is your greatest support when facing hardships in business?
My support has been from my family and mentors. They continue to remind me that the path I am on is God-ordained and bigger than any immediate struggle I may be facing.
How important is having a sense of community in your day-to-day?
A sense of community is extremely important. It is the reason I attend church weekly, why I chose to attend an HBCU, and why we have included it in the Wepair Health model.
Briefly tell me about your career background and journey.
I have over 10+ years of experience in healthcare delivery and improving patient experiences. I have served as a certified health coach in the last year to assist people with achieving optimal health. After completing my B.S. in Biochemistry, I worked in healthcare before eventually attending medical school in Mexico. To be eligible for U.S. residency programs, I completed one year of clinical training within the U.S. Shortly after completing the program, I returned to working in healthcare as Chief Medical Information Officer. This past June, I completed my MBA and have been putting all my effort into launching Wepair Health.
What idea inspired you to start your business?
The alarming rates at which Black and Latine individuals were dying from Covid-related problems, coupled with the unequal treatment these groups received, served as the impetus for founding Wepair Health.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
The name Wepair speaks to how we are trying to pair our clients with the appropriate clinicians so that they will feel empowered to achieve optimal health. The We of Wepair emphasizes that we are forming partnerships between the community, clients, and practitioners to ensure the appropriate tools and resources are accessible to the people who need them most.
Does your career background directly impact your business?
Yes. My work in healthcare as an advocate and educator has given me an in-depth perspective on transforming the current fee-based system to deliver value-based care to people of color.
What are the main roadblocks or challenges you experience when starting your business? If any, what are your current challenges?
Our main challenge is to generate capital and buy-in from major health providers so that our solution can address the problems within healthcare delivery.
What are the next steps for your business? What do the next five years look like?
Over the next several years, we will develop ways to deliver remote monitoring tools and at-home services that improve accessibility, reduce costs, and improve health outcomes. We are working on the prototype with a projected launch date of the latter part of 2023. We are looking to be the modern solution to healthcare for people of color.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
My advice to women entrepreneurs is to avoid taking the journey alone, identify your weaknesses, and do not limit yourself. As a woman entrepreneur, you will face an uphill battle that often feels quite lonely. However, it weathered best with the proper support system and team to fill deficient areas. The entrepreneurial mind is one of innovation and creativity. Still, it can be self-limiting sometimes, so be mindful of that. The sky and beyond should be the only limit you set for yourself.