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Health Fellow Spotlight: Georgina Dukes-Harris

Meet Georgina Dukes-Harris, a 2024 Aspen Ideas: Health Fellow and the Founder of Swishvo. Having experienced critical gaps in maternal healthcare firsthand, she's on a mission to use technology to help connect mothers with doulas, midwives, and nutritionists, to support safe birthing experiences for all.

  • June 12th 2024

As a mother, healthcare professional, and social justice advocate, Georgina Dukes-Harris has used her lived experience to create a technology platform that aims to revolutionize access to holistic healthcare in order to improve maternal health outcomes for all. This summer, she will join nearly 100 fellows at Aspen Ideas: Health to engage in conversations on health's biggest topics. We caught up with Georgina ahead of the event to learn how she's putting her big idea into action.

Tell us about your big idea!

My "Big Idea" is revolutionizing access to holistic healthcare, starting with maternal health. In the delivery room, three Black mothers lose their lives for every one white mother. Holistic healers like doulas, midwives, nutritionists, and herbalists are proven to boost our survival rate by over 81%. But there is no one space to connect to these life-saving services. This fragmentation continues to fail our community time and time again. I believe every birth should be safe, so I founded Swishvo, which aims to ensure that every individual, regardless of background, has equal access to holistic services. By providing a sophisticated technology platform for holistic birth workers like midwives, doulas, lactation specialists, clinical herbalists, etc., to manage, heal, and bill for their life-saving services and creating a marketplace for individuals seeking holistic care, Swishvo empowers communities to take control of their health and build healthier lives.

How did your own experience in the healthcare industry and as a mother inspire you to become a digital health founder?

As a mother and a healthcare professional, I have witnessed firsthand the gaps in our healthcare system. The challenges I faced in accessing holistic care during my pregnancy made me realize the urgent need for a dedicated platform. My journey to becoming a mother nearly cost me my life, highlighting the urgent need for better, accessible holistic health services. During birth and postpartum, I faced numerous challenges and insensitivity within the medical profession, forcing me to advocate for my survival. My experience in the healthcare industry revealed the systemic disparities and the lack of integration for holistic providers. This dual perspective fueled my passion to create Swishvo, a solution that bridges these gaps and ensures every mother and individual has access to comprehensive, life-saving holistic care. 

How can patients and health providers access Swishvo? What kind of feedback have you received from users?

We currently have a waitlist as we are rebuilding the app based on feedback from our initial beta test of Swishvo. Holistic health providers can easily list their services, manage clients, and process payments, while patients can search for and connect with the best holistic health professionals in their area. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with users appreciating the convenience, comprehensive care options, and the platform's role in building a supportive health community. Patients appreciate the ease of finding trusted providers, and holistic healers value the streamlined process for managing their practices and reaching those in need.

Do you find that there are stigmas or stereotypes about the use of holistic medicine? How do you think Swishvo will help normalize this care as part of a safe and healthy birth experience?

Yes, there are stigmas and misconceptions about holistic medicine, often seen as less effective and less legitimate than conventional methods. Holistic health, which has been around for centuries and used by over 40% of Americans, lacks the technology to streamline access and management. Swishvo aims to change this narrative by integrating holistic care into mainstream healthcare and making it easily accessible. By providing a professional platform that highlights the proven benefits and qualifications of holistic providers such as midwives, doulas, herbalists, prenatal yoga, and prenatal chiropractors, we can educate and build trust within communities. Showcasing success stories and health outcomes will normalize holistic care and show that holistic care is not just an alternative but a vital component of a safe and healthy birth experience.

How can technology and digital health solutions like Swishvo help address disparities within the healthcare system?

Technology and digital health solutions like Swishvo can democratize access to quality healthcare by connecting underserved communities with holistic health providers. Over 71% of BIPOC communities utilize holistic services, yet access remains fragmented and inadequate. Additionally, historically oppressed communities often face a lack of trust in traditional medical care due to past injustices and ongoing systemic inequities. Swishvo addresses this by streamlining administrative processes, reducing costs, and improving accessibility to trusted, culturally competent providers. This helps bridge gaps, rebuild trust, and ensure that everyone, regardless of socio-economic status, has access to the care they need. By doing so, Swishvo significantly reduces disparities and improves health outcomes for marginalized populations.

When you think about a healthier future for all, what do you imagine? How is Swishvo helping to make that vision a reality?

I imagine a future where every individual has access to the healthcare they need to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances. A future where holistic and conventional medicine work hand-in-hand to provide the best possible outcomes. Swishvo is helping to make this vision a reality by creating a platform that bridges the gap between holistic providers and the communities that need them and empowering holistic health providers with the tools they need to offer comprehensive care, foster authentic connections, and bill for their life saving services. By empowering providers and ensuring equitable access to holistic care, we are laying the foundation for a healthier, more inclusive world.


The views and opinions of the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.

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