Cyrell Roberson: Connecting People with Culturally Competent Healthcare Providers
Hi! It’s me, Spiffy the interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with the latest scoop on entrepreneurs making a difference in healthcare to promote UN SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being, and UN SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities. Today’s rockstar is Cyrell Roberson, founder of Jubily. Let’s see what he has to say!
Spiffy: Welcome Cyrell, so can you tell us what healthcare challenges you’re addressing?
Cyrell: Well, Spiffy, do you know that finding culturally responsive healthcare providers in mental health and medicine can be a challenging and daunting process, especially for people of color and the LGBTQIA+ community? Struggling with an illness—like cancer, anxiety, and depression—can often be a lonely experience, especially during times like this. For clinicians, getting advice from other clinicians and outside referrals for clinicians within and across different specialties can often be a cumbersome task that's limited to one's professional network. Cultural competency training is often inconsistent, inadequate, and sometimes non-existent for healthcare providers.
Spiffy: That sounds like a really important piece for finding health care providers. What motivated you to key in on culturally competenct providers?
Cyrell: Jubily was sparked by my realization that there's such a need among people who are looking for culturally competent clinicians and care. I noticed this during my professional experiences as an early career mental health professional, and from monitoring email listserves for young professional people of color (POC) reaching out for referrals from providers who were culturally competent. And, from my own lived experience, I began to see a need as I struggled to find a new primary care physician, dentist, and therapist who all met my preferences regarding cultural competence, and were also all covered under my new insurance. It was a pretty cumbersome process.
Spiffy: That would be frustrating for sure! Can you tell us what you’re doing to create a more equitable world?
Cyrell: We’re an early-stage health tech company with a social mission to improve access, equity, and healthcare outcomes for underserved groups. We’re both a patient and provider engagement platform and network, using a web and mobile app that’s designed for anyone and everyone—but especially for marginalized groups who have historically had a harder time accessing healthcare services, such as POC and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Jubily Couples Therapy. (Image courtesy of Cyrell Roberson)
Spiffy: What about any recent milestones that you’ve reached?
Cyrell: My amazing tech team is finalizing the backend of our web app on our website in preparation for a soft launch in July 2021. I'm excited to finally be able to share what we've been working on with our beta users and early adopters. Jubily is such a timely and necessary tool and resource —I know it will impact the lives of so many people.
Spiffy: Can you tell me about a time when you faced failure and didn't give up? What did you learn from failure?
Cyrell: Well, Spiffy, when I started graduate school, I had a goal to work at The White House at some point in my career. I didn't have any connections to help me get there, but I knew that I had to make it happen. I applied to the very competitive White House internship program three times. Each time I got closer and closer to getting accepted until I finally did—on the third try. I was persistent and I would stop at nothing to manifest my dream and goal. Working at The White House under the Obama Administration will always be one of the most transformative experiences of my life. It taught me that anything is possible if I make a plan, stick to it, and leap over the obstacles ahead of me.
Spiffy: Before we sign off, is there anything unexpected you’ve learned recently?
Cyrell: As a school psychologist and a therapist, I have the privilege of working with children and adults. I learn something new about them and the way that they see the world every day.
Spiffy: People are amazing teachers. Thanks for taking the time to tell us all about your important work, Cyrell. It’s been an absolute honor.
Cyrell Roberson, MA is the founder of Jubily, Inc., a health tech startup developing a web and mobile application to increase equitable access to healthcare and improve healthcare outcomes by connecting people to culturally responsive healthcare providers and online communities of support. Jubily will also offer cultural responsiveness training for health systems and hospitals. Cyrell is a PhD candidate at UC-Berkeley and works as a mental health professional in the Bay Area. (Nominated by StartOut. First published on the Ladderworks website on July 1, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.