Amy Fan: Treating with Compassion

Lisa Buyer
January 31, 2021
Amy Fan: Treating with Compassion

Amy Fan is the co-founder, CPO, and President of Twentyeight Health, an affordable and convenient telehealth platform providing reproductive and sexual care for underserved communities. She oversees product development, branding, marketing, and community outreach for the groundbreaking and much-needed platform. Amy understands the issues faced by marginalized populations and women everywhere and has been using her leadership skills and technology to help them access critical healthcare. Amy is a Female Disruptor in that she brings innovation while never losing sight of empathy and kindness.

Fixing a Widespread Issue for Women

Amy grew up in Canada, which enjoys a vastly different healthcare system than the US. When she moved to New York City, she experienced how difficult it is to navigate health insurance in the United States. From spending many hours trying to find an in-network OBGYN to realizing many people did not even have access to insurance, she understood this was a rampant issue for most women.

She realized, “there must be a better way to do this.” Coming from the skincare and makeup industry, she wanted to bring the human-centric approach of beauty to healthcare. She aimed to reimagine the patient experience so it would finally be simple, dignified, and approachable. And that’s how Twentyeight Health was born.

Amy left her position at the skincare and makeup startup to pursue an MBA and a Master in Public Health at UC Berkeley. She wanted to better understand the American healthcare system while exploring health tech innovation. After meeting her partner, Bruno Van Tuykom, they decided to leverage technology to address the largest gap in healthcare — access for underserved communities.

Differentiating Yourself From Competition Through Compassion

Twentyeight Health’s primary focus is to provide underserved communities with access to sexual and reproductive care. Today, low-income women are three times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than the average woman in the US, and nearly one-third of physicians nationwide aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients. These devastating statistics underscore why offering high-quality reproductive care, inclusive of people across race, income bracket, or health insurance status is more important than ever. As such, Twentyeight Health accepts Medicaid in the majority of states where they have already launched.

Amy’s project took on new importance in 2020. Indeed, State Medicaid enrollment has increased an average of 11% between February and September of 2020, with an even higher growth rate of 22% for states with Medicaid expansion. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated economic injustice and Amy understands that. Twentyeight Health is working to provide free birth control for women who are not able to pay out of pocket and are uninsured, through a partnership with Bedsider’s Contraceptive Access Fund.

2020 was also the year of speaking out against racial injustice. In 2020, Amy and her team continued to fight for healthcare equity, ensuring that all women, particularly BIPOC women and women from low-income backgrounds, can access high-quality, dignified, and convenient care.

Amy Fan hiking with group

How to Lead with Kindness

Women leaders all have different approaches to being a leader. Amy emphasizes kindness. Here are her five leadership lessons for female entrepreneurs.

1. Always have a beginner’s mindset

Amy’s grandmother grew up in war-torn China and raised five children on her own in Taiwan. She never had the opportunity to go to school. Instead, Amy learned how to write alongside her when her grandmother was in her sixties. It could have been easy to be embarrassed about learning to write as an adult, but instead, she embraced the experience and made up games for them to practice intricate Chinese characters together. Amy says, “when I feel daunted by a new task or role, I remember my grandma’s openness to learning and try to adopt a beginner’s mindset to be in awe of every new piece of knowledge.”

2. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

A friend and mentor share this quote with Amy to remind her that many decisions in the startup world are not black and white. Rather than rehashing whether a decision was right or not, she advised prioritizing how to support your team through those changes.

twentyeighthealth instagram

3. Feedback is a gift

Amy started off her career in management consulting, where feedback is a core component of the culture. At first, she was intimidated at being given feedback so often but quickly realized that it made her learn faster. Giving good feedback requires thought, consideration, and tact, so when someone provides constructive feedback, remember that it is because they truly care.

4. 80/20 rule

This is the Pareto Principle: 80% of the consequences often come from only 20% of causes. “There are a million things that we want to do at early-stage startups, and it’s easy to rapidly deplete resources—whether that is time or capital. I find the 80/20 rule is a good reminder to stay laser-focused on what we believe is the 20% that will have the greatest impact,” says Amy Fan.

5. Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously

Bringing humor and levity to the team atmosphere does not mean the work is any less important, but it helps to remove unnecessary stress and pressure.

Keeping in Touch with Amy Fan

In 2021, Amy is looking forward to continuing to grow Twentyeight Health. Over the next year, she and her team will be launching a number of new telehealth services around sexual and reproductive health. They will also be expanding across the United States, so make sure to keep an eye out! You can follow the company’s Instagram and connect with Amy Fan on LinkedIn.

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