Steven Moyo: Helping to Ensure Whole School Health
Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! Today I’m excited to cruise around with someone who’s going to make a huge impact on young people and health. Steven Moyo is the founder and CEO of Welfie and aiming to make sure all students are healthy and well. Let’s see how’s he doing it!
Spiffy: Welcome, Steve, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Let’s jump right in! Can you tell me what problems you’re trying to solve?
Steven: Thank you for inviting me, Spiffy. So, there is a problem in America where families of color and those living in or near poverty do not get the health and education they need. People in these families live sicker or die younger because of issues that are fixable or can be prevented. At Welfie, we work to make the system fairer and just for families who don't have the money or connections to get better health.
Spiffy: That sounds like a game changer for a lot of people. What motivated you to hone in on accessible healthcare?
Steven: As a black, immigrant doctor I have seen—in my family and in my patients—the negative impact that an unfair health system can have on the health and wellness of a family. Seeing this every day, and living it at home, I realized I had to do something about it. Welfie is designed to create health and wellness for families with a focus on their kids. We know kids are the most powerful force for change on the planet, so our goal is to empower them to change the health of their communities and families.
Spiffy: How else is Welfie working to create a more equitable world for its young people?
Steven: Our goal is to create Health Equity Response Organizers (H.E.R.O.s) that are trained to build, create and provide health equity to the world's most vulnerable families. Our HERO initiative focuses on giving students the tools they need to improve the health and wellness of their schools and homes. Through a model based on youth-participatory action research (YPAR) we are working to connect students and adults and create solutions to solve local problems.
Spiffy: These sounds like amazing initiatives! Can you say more about HEROs?
Steven: I’d love to! We recently had our first HEROs in our program. With a focus on mental health, teens helped us develop and launch a mental health directory built for teens by teens. While the directory is in its 'beta' test phase we are so excited to be putting this game-changing solution out into the world. We believe that healthy communities based on trust, science, and positivity can change the world.
Spiffy: I’m always curious how entrepreneurs handle failure. What about you, Steven? Can you share about an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up? What did you learn from failure?
Steven: I didn’t get into medical school the first time I applied. Actually, I didn’t get into medical school the second time I applied either. But I’ve gone on to graduate with honors and complete my residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. What I learned from these failures is resilience. ‘No’ is a powerful word, if you let it be. It is short, terse, and often seems final. However, a change of perspective can turn ‘No’ into ‘Not right now’, or ‘Not for me’. This has been a valuable lesson. There are so many factors that play into someone else's opinion of you. But if you know the truth about who you are, then not getting the answer you want isn’t about a lack of character, but perhaps a lack of communicating your story in the right way.
Spiffy: Well, thank you for sharing your inspiring story with all of us, Steven. It’s been an honor!
Dr. Steven C. Moyo (DocMoyo) is a Board Certified Physician and CEO and founder of Welfie, A company focused on delivering health equity to the families that need it most. He completed his residency training at the Osler Internal Medicine Residency Program at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He attained his medical doctorate from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and a Bachelor of Science from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Nominated by Visible Hands. First published on the Ladderworks website on November 8, 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.