Making a Social Impact: Carbon Health Joins Hidden Genius Project for its Global Tech Slam

Justin Young, MD
August 15, 2020
4 min read

No classroom? No problem! Carbon Health was proud to partner with the Hidden Genius Project for its Global Tech Slam: Beyond the Classroom summer series last month. On July 22, I teamed up with our V.P. of Product, Ayo Omojola, to host a special “Social Impact Wednesday.” We talked about our own experiences, answered audience questions, and discussed how tech is making healthcare more accessible to people in underrepresented communities and, ultimately, changing the world.

The Hidden Genius Project works to introduce Black male youth to tech careers and entrepreneurship via mentorship, training, and immersion programs. Their Global Tech Slam was created to connect young people of color with industry leaders through interactive sessions. The workshops aimed to inspire and encourage young people to explore tech careers, pathways, and opportunities they might not otherwise have been exposed to. To learn more about their mission or to donate to this incredible organization, visit www.hiddengeniusproject.org.

You can watch the full discussion here and be sure to read below for some highlights from our session.

ON CARBON HEALTH’S MISSION:

AYO OMOJOLA: “We want Carbon to be within arm’s reach…in your pocket or in person…we want to meet you where it’s most convenient for you.”

ON REDUCING HEALTHCARE EXPENSES:

JUSTIN YOUNG, MD: “The broader problem is as a country healthcare is incredibly expensive. One of the goals at Carbon Health is trying to bring that cost down by granting access and availability through the app…Our goal is to make sure we’re providing affordable, accessible care for our patients, for virtual care visits, primary, urgent, even mental health. We provide affordable options that are much more accessible than a lot of companies out there.”

AO: “Healthcare is expensive, we’re trying to make it cheaper.”

ON BUILDING YOUR OWN SUPPORT SYSTEM:

JY: “Growing up I was fortunate enough to have a family and have a supportive community beyond just my parents who were always able to provide us with positive examples specifically of Black success and community. That reinforced in me and instilled in me that there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do or who I wanted to be. Growing up that’s what was common and familiar to me and I know that’s not always what’s available to everyone…In this day and age, there’s lots of information and exposure out there and ways to build your own sense of community.”

ON LEARNING TO TRUST YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS:

AO: “Both my parents are doctors. They were incredibly attentive to us so I kind of assumed that’s’ what all doctors were so I had this crazy trust (for doctors) like you wouldn’t believe. My brother had an event where he was hospitalized in 2010…My dad’s not there so this guy comes in and is like, ‘Yo, we found the problem. We’re going to do surgery on you.”… My dad gets on the phone and it turns out he had trained the guy who had trained him but the nut of it was if they had gone ahead with the surgery my brother would have died. It really got me thinking that I assumed something that wasn’t true. I had assumed the healthcare system was set up to take care of you and in America, that’s really not true.”

ON LIFE’S TWISTS AND TURNS:

JY: “As you progress through life, it’s not a linear path or straight line. There are pitfalls and accidents that happen…It’s important to know every step of the way there are lessons to be learned. Ideas work out. Keep the momentum going and the progress going and don’t give up when things don’t go quite the way you expected them…There are some pleasant surprises that lead you to something great like a healthcare tech startup company.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY THEY SERVE:

JY: “I’ve worked in a number of different communities where I look like the majority of my patients. There’s always the question of what does that mean to your patient and what does that mean to the community you serve? For me, when I walk into a room, I know what the reaction is like walking in and seeing a Black patient or any other patient of color, the excitement they have with seeing a doctor like me but also the sense of pride that comes with that is incredible. I’m reminded of it every single time it happens and when you see a little kid light up and they look with a sense of surprise and excitement that you’re a Black doctor…For patients that are scared, when they see me walk into the room, it provides them with an added sense of security and an added sense of reassurance and it just eases more of their struggle and pain. You can’t put a price on that — it’s absolutely invaluable.”

ABOUT THE HIDDEN GENIUS PROJECT — www.hiddengeniusproject.org

The Hidden Genius Project was founded in 2012 by five Black male entrepreneurs/technologists who were unnerved by the dramatic juxtaposition between the high unemployment of Black male youth and the plethora of career opportunities within the local technology sector. To address this challenge, the founders established a program to connect young black males with the skills, mentors, and experiences that they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists in a 21st century, global economy.

Learn more by visiting www.hidden genius project.org.

Liked what you read? Learn more by downloading the Carbon Health app or visiting carbonhealth.com.

Justin Young, MD

Justin Young, MD, is a doctor and clinician manager at Carbon Health. Based in Los Angeles, he is also an aspiring filmmaker, who enjoys writing and travel.

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