the 411


HealthTech Innovation


Community Building












Beyond the Divide first stop was NOLA

By; Carlyn Pounders 


During this year’s Essence Music Festival, a group of dynamic health professionals, community leaders, and cultural influencers gathered in New Orleans to signal a turning point in healthcare at Xavier University of Louisiana. In healthcare innovation, diverse and marginalized communities have experienced neglect and even mistreatment for centuries. But the team behind this new initiative believe inclusive innovation and technology stand to make healthcare more impactful and effective for every individual.


techPLUG, an innovation firm based in Atlanta, launched Beyond the Divide New Orleans as the first step. The health tech symposium, in partnership with the City of New Orleans Department of Health, invited diverse key experts to share their work in the health tech space. The conversation was groundbreaking. The people were eager. And viable, progressive solutions were shared.


In cities like New Orleans across the country, health disparities exist between different racial and socio-economic lines. There’s a stark divide in tech across the same lines too. Thus, techPLUG believes all populations should have access to tech that decreases barriers of entry. They believe in the big picture: for technologies to increase quality of life and health without leaving populations behind.


Consequently, Beyond the Divide left attendees with the certainty that progress is possible. Discussion centered around the work underway in their local communities with speakers from The New Orleans Health Department, Trusted Provider Network, and NOLAVATE Black. They primed solutions for the future with national and global potential, including agriTech company Jikoro. The startup uses data and bioscience techniques to ensure sustainability for the earth’s limited resources. 


SynsorMed is another company

that’s using their patient monitoring platform to enable clinicians to deliver personalized and expedient treatment to patients. In turn, patients can have more confidence in their recovery. And that’s another big aim for techPLUG’s overall mission through Beyond the Divide: establishing trust.

(Left) Amin Holmes, Cofounder of SynsorMed (Right) Dr. Jennifer Avegno, New Orleans Dept of Health

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Speakers & Panelist

In order to best serve a community, voices from within must be seen, heard and felt. techPLUG will invite those at the intersections of health, tech and diverse populations to the table. They’re starting in New Orleans, but will touch additional cities, including Detroit. Further, the firm’s focus is on building culturally relevant experiences for varying partners and clients. techPLUG collaborates with organizations and startups who dare to go beyond the tech divide. It’s the dawn of a new era and addressing social determinants of health is increasingly important as the population becomes more diverse. Health innovation and tech will accelerate our path.


Thank you to our sponsors: American Cancer Society, Dissipating Disparities, Greater New Orleans Inc., Trusted Provider Network,  New Orleans Health Department, City of New Orleans, Center for Minority Health & Health Disparities at Xavier University College of Pharmacy, and Department of Public Health at Xavier University of Louisiana.