Labfront had the pleasure of speaking with Alison Greenberg, the Co-Founder and CEO of Ruth Health for our Women’s Health Startup Series. Rooted in her upbringing, Alison is passionate about women's health and well-versed in brand and healthcare strategy. Alison shares her journey to founding Ruth Health, her perspectives on misconceptions about women's health, and her aspirations for the future of the field.
I believe that birth is the moment when a child's future is often determined. Ruth Health aims to provide equitable, accessible prenatal and postpartum care, sowing the seed of justice at the beginning of life.
To start, could you share a bit about your journey into women's health and the founding of Ruth Health?
I was basically born into women's health, as my mother has been an OB-GYN for 40 years and was a trailblazer in her field. Growing up, we talked about health topics often deemed taboo at our dinner table. Not only was she the first surgeon at her hospital who was a woman, she ran an all female practice in the late 80s-early 90s which was essentially unheard of at the time. Her groundbreaking work inspired me to carry on her legacy in my own way, but it took me some time to find my path.
I had a fulfilling career in brand and healthcare strategy, working with clients like Genentech, Pfizer, and Edwards Lifesciences, before I ventured into entrepreneurship. I founded a company in conversational AI, which led me to realize my passion for making a meaningful impact on society, particularly for women.
The idea behind Ruth Health was born out of my desire to address societal inequities at their source - birth. I believe that birth is the moment in life when a child's future is often determined. So, Ruth Health aims to provide a platform for equitable, accessible prenatal and postpartum care, thus sowing the seed of justice at the very beginning of life.
It's heartening to hear about the principles driving your work. Could you tell us more about what you do at Ruth Health?
Maternal mortality is at an all-time high in the U.S. We haven't had good outcomes or a strong system of care since the 1920s. In fact, the system of care we use today around pregnancy was designed in the mid 1800s. Ruth Health is attempting to correct the failures of our current healthcare system in any way we can. We’re building a wraparound clinic that supplements the doctor's role by providing support resources, putting a doula in people’s pocket, and making pelvic floor training, C-section recovery, and lactation support as accessible as possible.
We go beyond the doom and gloom of the statistics and focus on reintroducing joy into prenatal and postpartum care and giving our patients a positive experience. They’re allowed to involve their children and partners in the sessions, creating a supportive, joyous environment. They laugh, they reconnect with their bodies, and they feel supported. This approach has been particularly impactful for marginalized groups, including women of color, queer women, and low-income women.
Our patients experience a 28% reduction in pain and symptoms in their first session.
That sounds fantastic. Could you share some success stories or positive impacts that you've made?
Our patients are more important to us than even the services that we provide. We maintain close relationships and strive to provide a holistic care approach. On many occasions, a patient might come in for lactation support and leave with much more than just that - mental health referrals, recommendation of a pelvic floor dilator, advice on breastfeeding bras, and more.
We don’t see the services we offer as the beginning and end of our care. We think about the whole body and the whole person.
Our statistics speak for themselves: we have a Net Promoter Score of 94, average retention around 78%, and our patients experience a 28% reduction in pain and symptoms in their first session.
You're certainly challenging some of the conventional healthcare approaches. What are some misconceptions you've faced in your journey with Ruth Health?
One major misconception is that postpartum is a specific period in life, while in reality, it affects a birthing person for the rest of their lives. Ruth Health treats postpartum as a lifelong journey, providing support even years after childbirth.
Another common misconception, often touted by investors and healthcare providers, is that pregnancy and maternity care is a niche. This minimizes the impact of pregnancy and postpartum, and economically, it's incorrect.
In the US alone, we have around 3.6 million births per year. The number multiplies when you consider that birth affects not only the mothers but also their families and support networks. It's not a niche; maternity health is a substantial $3 billion a year industry with far-reaching implications.
Absolutely. So, looking ahead, what are your hopes for the future of women's health research and the role of Ruth Health in that future?
I'm really excited that we've been collecting massive amounts of data and conducting research from the beginning. Thanks to our roots in conversational AI, we collect conversational data from every patient session. We use AI tools and both predictive and analytical listening to understand our patients. Rest assured, all our processes are secure and HIPAA compliant, and our patients have access to these recordings.
This wealth of conversational data allows us to analyze sentiment and pinpoint specific needs in fields such as plus-size pregnancy, blood ferritin levels, corrective exercise, and more.
Our vision revolves around continually using this data to develop new evidence-based products that can revolutionize women's health experiences. Our focus is on helping our patients steer clear of unnecessary hospital visits, avert permanent damage, and emphasize preventative care.
We're making strides in improving symptoms related to pelvic and core dysfunction, conditions like diastasis recti, recovery from C-sections, and more. Our approach to remote care is proving effective across a diverse population, treating various types of dysfunction and pain. It's this kind of research that we will be doing in the coming months as we're eagerly looking forward to gaining more clinical validation.
Our in-house methodology for pre and post bodywork, pioneered by our head of birth work, Kimberly McFerron, is truly groundbreaking. It's a unique approach that we believe will shape the future of women's healthcare.
Our conversation with Alison Greenberg underscores the importance of continuous innovation and dedication to advancing women's health. Through her leadership at Ruth Health, she is making significant strides in providing comprehensive, joy-filled, and impactful care for birthing people across their life journey. We look forward to seeing how her work continues to shape the future of women's health.
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Labfront is a global startup specializing in health data analytics. It is currently disrupting academic health research through its Labfront platform, a code-free digital biomarker collection and analytics solution. With the recent explosion of sensors in the scientific community, Labfront is helping health researchers process the overwhelming amount of complex data and transition to the data-rich future.