About a month ago, I had the pleasure to have Fard Johnmar, Founder of Enspektos, and Denise Pines, President of the Medical Board of California, both co-founders of the “FemAging” movement, as guests on Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat series to discuss the concept of FemAging. Among many other things, we touched on the roles of digital technologies and innovations in improving the lives of women over 40, the involvement of Big Pharma in FemAging, and whether virtual health services will translate into more equal medical care for middle age/older women (you can watch or listen to the whole episode here).
Today, I got to attend the FemAging virtual event “Beyond Fertility,” where physicians, investors, innovators, and entrepreneurs were brought together to discuss the unique opportunities and challenges faced by women over the age of 40.
Beyond Fertility: Exploring The Why Behind The Women’s Health Gap
In the first session of the day, Denise Pines was joined by Dr. Anna Barbieri (Mount Sinai School of Medicine) and Dr. Jessica Shepherd (Baylor University) to discuss the current status of perimenopausal and menopausal women and the drivers behind the acceleration of the FemAging movement. They emphasized the importance of advocating for, educating, and supporting women going through menopause in order to normalize this transition, as well as education for clinicians. Moreover, they highlighted the need for more research on menopause and other non-hormonal women’s health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia where there are discrepant health outcomes between men and women. Finally, they touched on the impact of COVID-19 on women’s health and what HealthTech companies should keep in mind when developing products and platforms for this patient population.
Women’s Health Investors On The FemAging Opportunity
In the second session of the day, Fard Johnmar spoke with Lisa Suennen (GE Ventures) and Dr. Brittany Barreto (Femtech Focus) about the current emphasis on fertility in women’s health and how their investments are evolving due to the FemAging movement. Lisa and Fard discussed which areas hold the most promise for investments, including mental health and stress, access to healthy and affordable food, and access to caregiving for children and aging parents. Lisa also gave her tips for getting comfortable with investing in FemAging companies and products, including the importance of thinking outside the box and consider the needs of other socioeconomic groups.
Next, Dr. Barreto discussed the importance and impact of women-specific issues such as postnatal depression, domestic violence, and daily stressors like childcare, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, on women’s mental health and wellbeing. She also explored the misconception that women’s issues are not “investable,” along with the need for awareness and education on women’s health for the investment community and the general public. Lastly, she gave her predictions for the industry in the next 5 years.
What Does Agile Innovation Look Like In The FemAging Era?
In the third session of the day, Fard Johnmar sat down with Jill Angelo (Founder and CEO of Gennev), Liz Klinger (Co-founder and CEO, Lioness), and Deb Levine (Founder, Surge) to discuss innovation, product development, and the unique challenges of developing FemAging Tech products and services, with emphasis on strategies for innovating for women of color. They touched on everything from the concept of “agile innovation” to strategies for overcoming analysis paralysis when trying to generalize individual women. Further, they talked about developing and validating products for different ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographical groups, and much, much more.
If you missed today’s FemAging virtual event, I highly encourage you to check out https://www.femaging.com/.
To start having these courageous conversations and gather additional insights on women’s health in various settings, online advisory boards with clinicians, patients, or payers are cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, and convenient, with superior engagement rates and quality and quantity of insights compared to in-person meetings. Book a demo with me using the button below to learn more!
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