8 features & programs supporting diversity, equity, & inclusion
Supporting all families—no matter how they came to be or what they look like—will always be integral to our mission. Our focus will always to be on creating a care management system that supports equitable health outcomes and a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
We’ve always believed that comprehensive and inclusive support is essential to helping working families thrive. There’s no single solution to ease the many unique burdens that families face. But even a holistic approach—one which examines wellness from every possible angle—can only be effective with proactive and built-in measures to ensure working parents and their children are supported no matter their race, age, gender identity, sexuality, or ability.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has always been at the heart of our mission. We help all members advocate for themselves in a clinical setting and equip them with the unique resources and tools required to improve their health outcomes. The pandemic and backdrop of social injustices of the past 12 months brought to light many of the structural inequalities that continue to plague our education, government, and healthcare systems, making this mission all the more urgent and important.
We’re deepening our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by introducing a bundle of new product features and continued initiatives to better support all working families.
Historically, healthcare has had a very broken relationship with BIPOC and other minoritized groups, who the medical community has a legacy of not only dismissing, but actively harming. Cleo strives to close this gap of care and repair the broken trust of healthcare in these communities by making resources more available and our experience as inclusive as possible, no matter one’s background or identity.Dr. Chitra Akileswaran, Cleo Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer
Improving the care experience for Black families via Cleo
Cleo is committed to curbing disparate health outcomes for our Black members and their children. The numbers don’t lie. Black birthing people are three to four times more likely to die from causes related to childbirth; what’s more, Black infant mortality is more than double that of white infants. Here’s how we’re helping:
- Providing comprehensive support for unique needs and challenges. Our newly announced partnership with Culture Care aims to connect Black birthing people and parents to resources, support, and clinical care that address the unique systemic obstacles, health risks, and societal biases they may encounter on their family-building journey. Working with Culture Care, Cleo is offering in-app content for Black birthing people and offering access to a racially concordant clinical telehealth resource with discounted rates.
- Creating community. Coming together with people with shared experiences and challenges is affirming, reduces loneliness, and creates hope. In February we launched Cleo Connect, virtual support groups for parents with similar lived experiences and identities (e.g. ethnic identities, sexual orientation, paths to parenthood, fertility challenges) led by a Cleo Guide. In March, we are launching Cleo Connect groups specifically for Black expecting families to support, learn from, and care for each other with the help of an expert Guide who shares in this racial/ethnic identity and lived experience.
- Making it easier to discover relevant content. We’ve consolidated our birth equity and racial justice content into one, easy-to-find category, Racial Equity, in the new Discover feature. Discover helps members browse content based on categories to easily find information that is most relevant to them.
- Ensuring informed and positive health outcomes. We’re continuing our commitment to our Best Birth Initiative to help members make informed decisions on where and how they give birth. This is especially important given the likelihood of birth interventions or escalations (cesarean sections, NICU stays, etc.) is predominantly determined by the hospital birthing people select. For those at higher risk of pregnancy complications, like BIPOC, this is even more important. Through the Best Birth initiative, Guides evaluate facilities in a member’s area based on publicly available quality metrics and equip members with the information they need to make an informed decision. We find that 50% of Cleo members that participate in this program end up changing their provider to one affiliated with a facility that objectively provides higher value care. This program contributes to a lower rate of cesarean births among Cleo members than the national average.
Perinatal mental health program
Effective holistic and comprehensive care is impossible without support for mental and emotional wellbeing, and it’s especially critical as we navigate the many stresses that come with a global crisis. Working parents in the US are losing a cumulative 720 million hours each week to stress/anxiety and caregiving, with women losing 49% more time than men. To aid our members through this stressful time, we launched our perinatal mental health program, beginning with an in-app survey for members (birth parents and their partners) to evaluate their risks for depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after birth. Based on their results, Cleo Guides follow up with helpful advice, schedule regular emotional wellness checks, and/or connect them to an in-network or covered mental health specialist.
Speaking with our Guide gives me a much-needed boost in both mood and energy. She helped me realize we are not alone…I always feel like the best parent I can be after talking with Taylor.Keely, Cleo Baby member
“Speaking with our Guide gives me a much-needed boost in both mood and energy. She helped me realize we are not alone,” Keely, a Cleo Baby member noted. “Taylor [Cleo Guide] outlined everything we could try and emphasized there is no right or wrong choice for your family, only the best choice that works for you. I always feel like the best parent I can be after talking with Taylor.”
Fostering inclusivity in everything we do
Inclusivity is integral to everything Cleo does. Everyone deserves to feel a sense of belonging when accessing care. These features are a few of the latest initiatives we’ve rolled out aimed at this commitment:
- Finding the right match. We understand that shared connections and empathy are foundational to building relationships based on trust. At the start of relationships with members, Cleo Guides enable members to self-identify as Black, BIPOC, or LGBTQ. Members are then rematched with a Guide who can more effectively address their needs—sometimes this means a Guide of the same race or ethnic background, one who speaks the same language, or a Guide with experience related to their specific identity (i.e. transgender pregnancy).
- Incorporating inclusive language. For transgender birthing parents, having a child and navigating care can be complex, othering, and gender disphoric. All Guides are trained on inclusive language related to pregnancy and parenting. This means using terms like “birthing parent” instead of “mother” and “chestfeeding” instead of “breastfeeding.” While these are small changes in language, they make a significant impact in the care experience of a transgender member. We also have Guides with specific experience supporting transgender birthing people and helping parents support their own children’s gender exploration.
- Fostering inclusive support from the top down. We are offering customers free access to Cleo Manager Training, which encourages inclusive support from the top down within an organization. Managers who support their parent employees are a huge factor in retention, and this training teaches them how best to lend that support.
The events of the last year have unleashed waves of change in our world and made issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion impossible to ignore. Fortunately, many companies are now taking the steps necessary to address the inequalities still present in our systems. At Cleo, our focus will continue to be on creating a care management system that supports equitable health outcomes for families of all types, at every stage.