Health care, at it’s root, is about eliminating human suffering. It’s about caring enough to do so, about caring for and recognizing the thoughts, feelings, and fears of others. As a service, it empowers others to lead healthy. happy lives; to thrive.
But health care today is broken, and under the current system, we often walk away feeling afraid, confused, and helpless. We may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn next. And so, we turn to others for support at a time when we feel our most vulnerable, because we know that the best health care is human.
Today, we highlight several organizations that are working to restore the human element to our broken health care system. These organizations fight cancer, chronic disease, mental illness, and beyond – but regardless of their specialty, they share at least one thing in common. They all empower patients to thrive with human-centric approaches and solutions, real genuine responses to human suffering that seek to make the world better for all. In doing so, they make health care what it was always meant to be: human.
Rooms that Rock for Chemo (Rtr4c)
What: Nonprofit transforming hospital and clinic chemotherapy treatment rooms into beautiful, tranquil environments.
Why: Rooms that Rock for Chemo has always been about the patient – understanding his or her needs and concerns at a basic, human level and delivering comfort and peace. Driven entirely by volunteers and by a belief that uplifting and colorful environments can ease suffering and deliver hope, the organization has converted more than 150 rooms in 15 facilities to beautiful spaces. Founder Nancy Ballard is an artist by trade, who felt moved to use her talents to create extraordinary good in the world. Her passion and commitment has made over 800,000 yearly patient visits a little less scary and a lot more bright.
What: Clinically proven and evidence-based digital therapeutics system that fights chronic disease with long-term behavior change.
Why: For the first time in history, preventable, chronic disease kills more people than infectious disease, but the traditional health care system has been slow to catch up. Omada Health responds by tackling the problem at its root, empowering individuals to take control early and eliminate future suffering, rather than wait helplessly for treatment. With their engaging and effective programs, real people can work with other real people to change habits and prevent health problems. The future of health care is human-to-human behavior change; Omada Health is the future, and they are not afraid to embrace it, no matter how ambitious that may be.
Beats Rhymes Life (BRL)
What: Hip Hop Therapy program that uses the process of creating rap music to engage troubled teens in mental health services.
Why: One-size does not fit all when it comes to health care, especially mental health care. Every individual has different needs based on his or her unique, culturally charged experience of the world, which is why Beats Rhymes Life is so critical. Grounded in the lives and worldview of young, urban men of color, the therapeutic program meets marginalized youth where they are to deliver the care that they need, eliminating health disparities by making mental health services more accessible to diverse populations. BRL recognizes that patients are partners in their own recovery; in doing so, they enhance the self-esteem and self-reliance of those young men and boys that they treat.
What: Data-driven, centralized command center for all our health needs with round the clock medical support.
Why: Traditional health care can be overwhelmingly confusing, not to mention expensive. It can be hard to find the answers that you need, when you need them. But with Sherpaa, health care can be transparent and simple. Founded by a doctor and a human resources professional, the company provides native guides – medical professionals, HR experts, and data analysts – to help anyone navigate the complex land of health. And they are there to listen; rather than push you through a system, they’ll work to creatively solve your problems. These are real people, providing very real help.
Meals to Heal
What: Nutritional guidance and fresh, customized, delivered meals for cancer patients.
Why: A proper diet can help strengthen the immune system and boost energy levels, but it can be hard to find the time and energy to eat right when you are a cancer patient. In fact, 50-80% of all cancer patients suffer some sort of nutritional deficiency; caregivers often as well. Meals to Heal tackles the problem from several angles. Healthy recipes and delivered ingredients enable patients and caregivers to prepare delicious, fulfilling meals on their own, and nutritional support from certified oncology nutrition professionals empowers them to make healthy decisions in all aspects of their lives.
Partners in Health
What: Team of health professionals, scholars, and activists delivering modern medical science to those in the poorest, sickest communities around the world.
Why: Partners in Health was founded on that basis that high quality medical care should be available to all, especially those in need. The foundation works with sister organizations across the globe to bring hope and care to impoverished communities. Driven by solidarity, not charity, the team has stated that they will do “whatever it takes” to assist any patient “just as we would with a member of our own family.” In the words of it’s Chief Strategist and Co-founder, Dr. Paul Farmer, “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.” We couldn’t agree more. Partners in Health reminds us that love for all people is antidote to despair and the root of all hope.
P.S. As a special addendum, we’d also like to share a business that is near and dear to our hearts. Kirsten is a member of the Marked Point team, and we love her, her story, and the incredible work that she is doing to make health care more human very much.
What: Healthy, prepared snack boxes for cancer patients that give back
Why: A cancer diagnosis creates feelings of fear and helplessness in both the patient and his or her caregivers, family, and friends. When founder Kirsten Leah Rodgers’ father was diagnosed with Lymphoma in early 2013, that was exactly how she felt, and that’s why she created Chemo Bites – to fight back. Chemo Bites is first and foremost a means of empowerment; through food, patients and caregivers can take control, finding support and comfort at a difficult, often scary time. More than anything, this is a business rooted in love, and that love surges through all they do.