Two local start-ups are working together to address racism and reduce its impact on Minnesota’s communities.
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), has played a significant role in increasing Minnesotans’ access to these products.
span style=”font weight: 400 We declared racism a public safety crisis in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. This was based on overwhelming evidence and experiences of the disproportionate and adverse impact of people of color with COVID 19.” Bukata Hayes, vice president for racial equity and health equity at BCBS. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota are funders of the MinnPost Race & Health Equity beat.
Health disparities for Black women
Health in Her HUE works to reduce health disparities among Black women and women of colour. Its website contains a list of culturally sensitive and ethnically compatible providers that are intended to improve health outcomes for women of colour.
span style=”font weight: 400 We know that cultural concordance has shown positive health outcomes. Hayes stated that HUE Health provides cultural and racial concordance for health and in the kind of intervention and care we believe is necessary to close some longstanding health inequities.
A community forum and virtual care squad are also available. This is a place where women can discuss health topics and are guided through a curriculum by a clinician.
Eddwina Bright is the co-founder and chief product executive of Health in Her HUE. She was affected by a bad experience she had during childbirth. She claimed that her providers did not include her in the process as they made assumptions about her.
“font-weight 400 I feel like they instantly saw me, you see, as a Black woman who is overweight and pregnant for the first time,” she said. I would ask them questions and they said, “Oh, that’s fine. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it. ‘”
She described the entire experience as being disillusioning.
They broke my water, but didn’t tell us until several hours later. These were the things that made me feel goated and pushed into my C-section. I felt very dismissed.”
This directory is designed to help patients avoid any instances of harm.
Although the company is based out of New York, it has a national reach with users and providers coming from all over the country. Bright stated that BCBS reached out and offered to help Brooklyn Center women with their needs.
The company sponsors memberships for approximately 200 women in the north metro area. The average subscription costs $12.99 per month, or $120 annually.
Kickoff event will be Aug. 20, at Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Dr., Brooklyn Center. Women can sign up for the premium one-year membership and get the kickoff event.
You can also access limited personalized content and the provider directory. Premium accounts have unlimited access to all the features, as well as access to a series of events that cover various health and wellness topics.
Bright stated that if the Brooklyn Center members love the product, there is a possibility it could be part of the BCBS’s Minnesota offering.
The directory currently has over 1,000 providers in 60 specialties. The company focuses on Black providers but also wants to highlight culturally sensitive providers who could help with the work load.
Bright stated that the focus of the project is not to create a racially-segregated healthcare system.
Fighting police violence
Turn Signl is an application that aims at stopping police violence. This app allows users to connect to a trained attorney who can offer advice and de-escalation techniques during a traffic stop.
span style=”font weight: 400 ;”>” We thought it was an innovative way to address that moment-to-moment interaction of a civilian with law enforcement,” Hayes stated. It is part of mental health mitigation at the time of a traffic stop. Their lawyers have been trained in de-escalation and understand traffic law. To be able to help with stress reduction, de-escalating, and technical assistance at that moment is very important .”
Turn Signl was born out of the founders’ closeness with Philando Castile, his family and friends. Andre Creighton, and Mychal Frelix were both former teammates in Castile’s sports. The idea was born after Castile was killed by police in Falcon Heights, 2016 in a routine traffic stop.
Jazz Hampton, one co-founder, stated that George Floyd’s murder reinforced the need for an app. All three of them quit their jobs in 2020 and founded Turn Signl.
Hampton stated that after George Floyd and Philando, there was a critical mass of awareness about the need to deescalate interactions in order to get everyone home safely. However, Hampton did not have a plan.
Users can use the app to record any interaction with the front-facing camera if they are involved in an accident or pulled over. A video conference allows the user to connect with an attorney.
Turn Signl currently employs more than 100 attorneys. They are trained in third party de-escalation as well as specific areas of law that the user requires.
Hampton stated that there have been approximately 50 instances where the service has been used so far in each month. BCBS sponsors some accounts in Minnesota to make it affordable for those who cannot afford them.
A subscription costs $6.99 per month or $60 annually. The app is free for people who are below the income threshold.
Hampton stated that he did not want anyone’s financial situation to dictate whether they feel safe driving. “I, as the cofounder of Turn Signl .” , as an attorney and a Black lawyer do not want anyone to decide if they are going to buy milk for their families or pay a monthly subscription for Turn Signl .
It has been downloaded around 20,000 times and is available in California, Georgia Florida Minnesota, Tennessee and Florida. About half the users hail from Minnesota.
Hampton said, “It’s an opportunity to know and to be able protect your rights and to invoke them at a time that suits you.”
Hampton states that officers can find relief knowing that someone is using the app.
He said that if they see a Turn Signl bumper stickers, they should feel more secure than any other interaction that they have. The Ring doorbell is my favorite analogy. If you go up to someone’s home and press the Ring bell, you can be sure that they will behave well. Turn Signl is the same.
BCBS financially supports these two platforms in the Twin Cities. They call it “pilot work” and help cover some costs.
span style=”font weight: 400 I don’t want it to appear that we are just investing money in it. We are putting more than money into it. Hayes stated that the dollars we invest are not worth as much because of our connections to our community, our network, and our influence. We believe that it’s a substantial amount that allows us both to pilot these opportunities and that we can then learn and amplify it span>