Birth equity—the assurance of the conditions of optimal births for all people with a willingness to address racial and social inequalities in a sustained effort—is core to Cleo’s mission and how we care for our members. The way Cleo Guide Natasha Sobers sees it, “if you’re caring for the most vulnerable in your society, then everybody else benefits.
Black birthing people are three to four times more likely to die from causes related to childbirth and Black infant mortality is more than double that of their white counterparts. Black birthing people and parents need resources, support, and clinical care that address the unique systemic obstacles, health risks, and societal biases they come face to face with on their family building journey. To bring this expertise to our members, Cleo is partnering with Culture Care to create in-app content specifically for Black birthing people and to provide access to a clinical telehealth resource for qualifying members.
Culture Care is a culturally-connected telemedicine platform that gives Black birthing people direct access to Black physicians. “The goal is to give [Black people] the opportunity to see a physician who looks like them and speaks their language, without being inhibited by the typical barriers,” says co-founder and obstetrician Dr. Joy Cooper.
Research has shown that access to Black physicians can significantly improve outcomes for Black birthing people and their children. “Black birthing people and Black infants are several times more likely to survive a year after birth if they are cared for by a Black obstetrician or pediatrician,” says Dr. Cooper, citing several studies. This is why racially-concordant care is so important and the basis upon which Dr. Cooper founded Culture Care.
Finding a physician that looks like you is easier said than done for BIPOC individuals (Black, Indigenous, and people of color)—geography, insurance, and a complex healthcare system are all barriers. Culture Care makes it easy to get virtual clinical care from a Black physician to answer questions, provide a second opinion, or simply make you feel heard.
As a Black physician herself, Dr. Cooper has “this back pocket rolodex of Black doctors in different specialties” that she uses for her own family and friends and wanted to bring that experience to as many people as possible.
Cleo is teaming up with Culture Care to create in-app content directed to the needs, concerns, and challenges of our Black members. Through a series of articles, Dr. Cooper provides guidance to our members on everything from preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication that disproportionately impacts Black birthing people) to reproductive justice.
Starting February 2021 members can find all racial equality content consolidated in one easy to navigate section of Cleo’s mobile app. Content covers everything from how to find racially concordant care to how to talk to your kids about racism, and is written by Dr. Cooper, Cleo Guides, and other contributors who have shared lived experience with our BIPOC members.
Cleo members in California also receive a 25% discount on Culture Care services. Cleo Guides refer Black members to Culture Care if they require clinical care from a physician beyond what the Guide team is able to provide. With Culture Care and Cleo together, Black members receive the personalized guidance and support of their Cleo Guide, content that addresses their specific needs, and access to a team of Black physicians to provide racially-concordant clinical care.
“It’s so easy [for Black birthing people] to get gobbled up in the system and to feel like they’re just another number…We make sure that you feel like you matter; that somebody is caring about you and someone wants to make sure you survive,” says Dr. Cooper.
Understanding birth equity is essential for Black birthing people and the partners, allies, employers, and systems that support them. That’s why we’re making a selection of Dr. Cooper’s content written for the Cleo app publicly available on our blog:
Members get more in the Cleo app: