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In-Depth Conversations with Residents: K’ept Health

By JLABS
Q&A

Del

Inspired by her own struggles to find adequate dermatology care, Sheena Franklin, Founder and CEO, created K’ept Health, a JLABS @ Washington, DC company seeking to eliminate cultural barriers to skin care for women of all skin tones. Learn more about K’ept Health and how the company aims to empower the customer to be at the forefront of their health decisions in our next In-Depth Conversations with Residents.

Q: Tell us the story behind your company. What is the personal and scientific inspiration behind the founding (or your work with) this company?

SF: I personally had a frustrating experience finding dermatologists and aestheticians to treat my skin condition who were skilled in integrative and functional dermatology for skin of color. Working in the healthcare industry as a government relations professional, I had a front-row seat to how technology can potentially change healthcare and the patient experience. .

Skin diseases are the fourth most common cause of human illness and affect almost one-third of the world’s population1 , and yet accessing care can be a frustrating and anxiety-driven process. For women of color, it’s even more frustrating as dermatologists are often not trained properly to treat skin of color since textbooks and AI have an over-representation of white skin.

We need more accessible and adorable healthcare. If patients are the recipient of services, treatments, and products, then we should be more involved in their creation and development. Today, technology can help us do just that – transform how everyone in the ecosystem learns from and assists each other.

Q: What do you hope your impact will be for patients if you are successful?

SF: First and foremost, our hope is that women will receive the best care without being ignored or “othered.” Secondly, dermatologists will have the best information available about their patients at their fingertips while other key stakeholders will have real-world insights to create services and treatments for better adoption and adherence.

We are proactive about placing every woman at the center of any feature or decision we make and develop. This means being transparent while working with practitioners who can provide culturally competent care and AI that is more inclusive.

Q: How important do you feel diversity, equity, and inclusion in the life sciences is?

SF: Its fundamental. I hope we get to a point in the life sciences, and society in general, where it is not looked at as an extra – an add-on bonus – but as a way of everyday discourse.

For life sciences, it is about acknowledging the history of medicine and the gaps in care it has created in our modern healthcare system. Unfortunately, change is being driven primarily by patients and consumers demanding better services, treatments, and products and wanting to be listened to and not dismissed. By having patient-led companies partnering with practitioners, researchers, and scientists, I believe we will see meaningful change.

Q: Why did you want to become a part of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS (“JLABS”)? What advice would you give to early-stage entrepreneurs?

SF: JLABS has a reputation for helping early-stage companies build upon their early success by providing access to resources that are not readily available. So far, I have been able to receive information to help with customer discovery in developing new features for our electronic health record (EHR) system and in data collection and management.

My advice to early-stage entrepreneurs is to prioritize finding support from customers as their adoption and belief in your product will propel you through the setbacks, the “no”s, and the biases you will encounter along the way. My experience in corporate leadership roles and a family legacy of entrepreneurship gives me a unique perspective in identifying problems and how to partner with the right people to solve them.

 

To learn more about K’ept Health, visit: https://www.kept.health

Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS @ Washington, DC is open for business. Learn more and join us in pursuit of accelerating innovation in service of our patients: https://jji.jnjinnovation.com/join-jlabs-dc.


1 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjd.19704

 

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