App connects people of color with melanistic providers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With work, sports and school, the Sewell family is a busy family, but no matter how busy life gets, they make room for family time.

What do you want to know

  • Melanated Healthcare aims to reduce health disparities while improving access to care
  • Users can connect with like-minded healthcare providers and share their culture and experiences
  • The app was created by Lacresha Sewell, a Louisville wife, mother and women’s health practitioner
  • The app was launched in May 2021

They enjoy spending time together traveling, eating, and playing board games together.

If it was Rylee Sewell, the daughter and youngest member of the family, they would still be playing the same game.

“I love playing Minecraft. You can craft and build,” says Rylee.

It’s something Rylee may have learned from her mother Lecresha Sewell, a women’s health practitioner who created and built her own app, Melanated Healthcare.

The Sewells are a busy family, but they always make room for family time. (Spectrum News 1/Ashley N. Brown)

Melanated Healthcare is a digital health platform that connects black and brown patients with Melanated Healthcare professionals.

Melanated Healthcare provides a directory for people of color to find healthcare providers who look like them and understand their culture and experiences.

The app aims to eliminate the health care disparities Sewell has witnessed since launching her high school nursing career. Black Americans are more likely to die at an early age than white Americans from multiple conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke, According to the CDC.

“All disparities are avoidable. In the United States, health disparities cost an estimated $93 billion each year, so it’s a major problem,” says Sewell. “Black women in particular are two to three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication, regardless of socioeconomic status in the United States, compared to white women, which makes the issue very transparent. major there,” says Sewell.

Sewell says her experience with her doctor while pregnant with her first child, Amaris, influenced her decision to move forward in her career and her desire to educate patients the way she wanted to be educated.

“I simply had no connection with this supplier. It was kind of like just cold. Not really a warm feeling and just sort of navigating this unfamiliar space,” says Sewell.

Ana’neica Williams wanted the resource to be available during her high-risk pregnancy so she could find a provider she felt connected to.

“No one has ever mentally asked me. ‘How are you?’ If that had happened, I think the results might have been different for me,” Williams says.

The app has changed the way Williams takes care of herself and her now 11-year-old daughter.

“I’ve never had a color provider who was a dentist. The app helped me find one,” Williams says. “Sometimes you want someone I don’t have to explain to you. my culture. I don’t have to explain to you what a certain language means. It’s almost like a reunion. You go there with your family and you can just hug each other.

Williams is a clinical social worker and owner of the Momology Maternal Wellness Club. She also uses the app to connect with customers and help them build their supplier team.

“People want to know that you care about them. That’s what this app allows them to do. Connect, see someone like them, reach out, build the relationship,” says Williams. “A lot of my moms come to see me pregnant. Let’s look here and identify a doula or I can reach out to the doula. We can do it together and that’s really how you build community.

The app includes chat and blog functionality to discuss and share health related information.

“I really hope that we help patients connect with people they feel comfortable with and that we really improve health outcomes, which is the ultimate goal of what we do,” says Sewell.

Sewell hopes the app will inspire more people to trust the healthcare system instead of avoiding care that affects life expectancy.

“Avoiding care can be costly, so costly it could cost you your life. A lot of people don’t seek care until something really happens and it’s often too late,” says Sewell. “I strongly encourage people to establish with someone they are comfortable enough to allow them to take care of themselves and to ensure that they are as healthy as possible and live as long as possible. they can.”

Melanated Healthcare is available in the App Store and Google Play.

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, Lecresha Sewell’s last name was misspelled in the caption, her daughter Rylee’s name was misspelled, and her first child was misidentified. All errors have been corrected. Our apologies for the errors.

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