The Business Gay Podcast with Host Calan Breckon
The Business Gay
EqualityMD: Improving Healthcare for the LGBTQ+ Community
EqualityMD: Improving Healthcare for the LGBTQ+ Community with Justin Ayars

In this episode of The Business Gay Podcast, host Calan Breckon speaks with the Founder and CEO of EqualityMD, Justin Ayars.

Justin is a former healthcare trial lawyer turned serial entrepreneur. His latest endeavour, EqualityMD, is an LGBTQ+ healthcare and data analytics company that blends healthcare and technology with marketing and data science.

EqualityMD is changing how the underserved LGBTQ+ community perceives and receives care by empowering each patient to become the superhero of their own healthcare story.

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Key Takeaways for quick navigation:

  • [00:02:48] Justin explains that EqualityMD is a telehealth platform that connects LGBTQ+ patients with culturally competent providers, focusing on mental health, primary care, urgent care, and prescription fulfillment.
  • [00:04:42] Justin shares his experience defending insurance companies and his desire to address the question of where LGBTQ+ people can find safe medical care.
  • [00:09:21] Justin and Calan discuss issues such as facing discrimination, finding culturally competent providers, and the impact on patient-provider relationships.
  • [00:12:30] Justin mentions the lack of data on LGBTQ+ health concerns and disparities and how EqualityMD aims to bridge the gap by providing data-driven insights.
  • [00:23:17] Justin talks about how the data gathered by EqualityMD is transformed into actionable insights for healthcare entities to improve patient engagement and outcomes.
  • [00:31:49] Justin discusses the telehealth services offered by EqualityMD, including access to mental health, primary care, urgent care, and prescription fulfillment for a monthly subscription.
  • [00:35:21] Justin outlines EqualityMD’s plans to grow over the next five years, including expanding telehealth services and potentially being acquired.


[00:00:00] Calan Breckon: Today’s episode is sponsored by Castos. Castos is a podcast hosting platform trusted by thousands of brands. With Castos, you can create as many podcasts and episodes as you want, no matter which plan you choose. Full disclosure, the podcast you’re listening to right now is actually hosted on Castos, and I can say with 100% confidence that Castos is the best option. Castos has their seriously simple podcasting plugin for WordPress, making it easy to run your show through your own website. This is a must have, especially if you’re looking to grow your business and audience through SEO driven content. I’ve been using Castos for over three years and the team has always been super friendly, quick to respond, and has supported my podcasting journey since day one. You can find out more by visiting or just clicking the link in the show notes. Now let’s get into today’s episode.

Welcome to the Business Gay podcast, where we talk about all these business, marketing and entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Calan Breckon, and on today’s episode, I have founder and CEO of EqualityMD, Justin Ayars. Justin is a former healthcare trial lawyer turned serial entrepreneur. His latest endeavor, EqualityMD, is an LGBTQ+ healthcare and data analytics company that blends healthcare and technology with marketing and data science. EqualityMD is changing how the underserved LGBTQ community perceives and receives care by empowering each patient to become the superhero of their own healthcare story. I am so excited for today’s conversation, so let’s jump in.

[00:01:42] Calan Breckon: Hey, Justin, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. How are you doing today?

[00:01:46] Justin Ayars: I’m doing well, Calan, pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:48] Calan Breckon: Yeah, well, when you reached out, I was really excited because this is something we’ve not really spoken about on the podcast before. Really, really, really intrigued as to what you’re doing with EqualityMD. So why don’t you just start off? What is EqualityMD?

[00:02:05] Justin Ayars: Good question. EqualityMD is an LGBTQ inclusive telehealth platform that connects LGBTQ patients with providers who’ve had cultural competency training. We have a machine learning matching algorithm that takes into account each individual’s intersectionality of identities because we all have many different identities as well as the patient’s unique medical needs and matches them with a provider who has a license in the state where they live. So we can have a telehealth session, and we focus on primarily mental health, but also do primary care, urgent care, and prescription fulfillment. Casey?

[00:02:42] Calan Breckon: Okay, and so why did you start equality? I mean, this is a silly question, but why did you start equality?

[00:02:48] Justin Ayars: It’s not a silly question.

I used to defend insurance companies in healthcare cases as a lawyer, and I hated it. But everyone deserves representation. That’s what we lawyers say. So in the great Recession, all young attorneys lost their jobs, and so I was the last one in. So I was the first one out, and I was never happier in my life to receive a pink slip than that day. Then I became an entrepreneur for 15 years. Now it’s my 15th year of being an entrepreneur. Fifth business. But when you’re a lawyer, you’re a counselor at life, not just a counselor at law. And that means people have approached me from all walks of life across the country, asking different types of questions that really span the gamut of the human condition. But there’s one that’s really stood out more than any other, and that’s as a member of the LGBTQ community, where can I find a doctor who makes me feel safe? That message has been sort of rattling around my brain the past 20 years or so. And when I had another tech startup that measured how our community behaves as a consumer base, we launched that product in March of 2020, right when COVID hit and the world stopped. So we stopped, and the project never really took off. And everyone’s mind was focused on healthcare. And I thought, well, for the past 1012 years, I’ve been building, nurturing, cultivating authentic, meaningful relationships with different organizations, partners, nonprofits, Fortune 500s. If I activate these networks, we can actually make a meaningful difference if we transition what we were doing with consumer behavioral data to healthcare. And answer that question, where can I find a doctor who makes me feel safe?

[00:04:42] Calan Breckon: Yeah. Okay, so I want to make this clear. Just because I have listeners in Canada, the US, all over the place, you’re speaking from a US point of view, which things are very different down in the US compared to Canada. We chatted a little bit before we jumped on about, you know, the socialist Canada, which I love it.

And so. But even still. Even in saying that, I. When I moved back to Canada in 2019 from living abroad, I made it my mission to find an lgbtq gay doctor. Just because I knew the experiences I was having in life and that I have, I didn’t want to have to feel uncomfortable talking to a doctor about it because there’s things we have as lgbtq people who some people will look really negative upon. And an example. A good example is I had to go to a prostate doctor. Um, just because, you know, stuff happens. And the. The moment my doctor, personal doctor, he was fine, but then I had to go to, like, another specialist within their kind of world, and it was this kind of very old russian, like, grew up in Russia, doctor, and started asking me all these questions. The moment that I had to be, like, confirmed that, like, yes, I have sex with men, it was an instant, like, I could feel the energy in the room just switch. And it wasn’t. It wasn’t outward. It could very much have been internal, but it was a noticeable energy shift. And it was just like, all of a sudden, like the comments that are made, I felt very unwelcomed, I guess you could say. Whereas in another circumstance with my personal doctor, I would have been fine because I knew he was gay and he wouldn’t have had that kind of same reaction. I could have been more open and forthcoming with what I was experiencing. Thus, my care would have been more tailored towards me because I would have been able to share more without feeling uncomfortable about it. But because I was so uncomfortable, I shut down. And I didn’t give all the details as to what maybe I should have given.

So in saying that even in Canada, we could use something like this, where we can find out where our community and our people are.

[00:07:01] Justin Ayars: That’s a really unfortunate story, but sadly, it’s all too common in my case. I’m wider than paper, so I go to my dermatologist just to make sure I’m not contracting melanoma or something like that. And I went to my dermatologist in DC a few years ago and put on that hospital gown that already makes you feel physically uncomfortable anyway. And so the way I sort of deflate any kind of tension in the room is self deprecating humor. And so I made some joke about myself being gay in a positive way. But the doctor didn’t know I was, and he told me he couldn’t complete the physical exam because he didn’t feel comfortable touching my skin. So he left the room, leaving me sitting alone in that hospital gown. And I felt less than human. And when I got dressed and went to the receptionist, I told her what happened, and she said, oh, sweetie, why don’t you just go talk to your people and find someone? I thought, this is not how it should be. Another catalyst for creating a quality md is that I and my entire team have lived the problem we’re solving. But to your point about having a gay doctor, a lot of gay men want gay male doctors. A lot of lesbians want lesbian doctors. But the thing is, if we’re 10% of the population, how many percent of the population are doctors?

And then if you go and say, oh, I want a native american provider who’s gay, the numbers just shrink. So it’s great if you can find one, but there are some terrible gay doctors out there with terrible bedside manner.

So the way that we are working around that is by delivering cultural competency education to providers in the mental health and primary care spaces so that even if they don’t identify with the community themselves, they know how to create a safe space digitally so that patients feel that they can be their authentic selves and have those candid, courageous conversations with their providers and not have that, that dread or sense of feeling that they’re going to experience some kind of discrimination the way you and I and countless others have.

[00:09:21] Calan Breckon: Yeah. And I think that that’s really, really important.

I’ve noticed my doctor now has switched to a younger female. My doctor got a promotion, moved to like an operational hospital, et cetera. And one of my first things was, I don’t know if I’m going to stay. Not because I don’t like you, but because I would prefer to go and find somebody of my community just so I could have much more of that candidness with them. But it’s so difficult to find a, a care like a doctor, just like your general provider that I was like, okay, well, I guess I’m going to stay with you. But her being so open about her training, she’s also much younger. Have you noticed that a lot of the kind of younger general practitioners are a lot more open, a lot more educated? And what’s your experience in that?

[00:10:11] Justin Ayars: I would say, generally speaking, yes. That’s painting it with a broad brush. So just because they’re young doesn’t mean they’re going to give you the kind of care that you would hope.

It’s still a crapshoot because you don’t know what type of training that these providers have gone through. EqualityMD last summer fall went through the Cedars Sinai accelerator in Los Angeles. One of a thousand companies to get in. We were one of ten, which is really cool. And we got to work with clinicians and technologists and industry leaders and senior executive vice presidents, even CEO, and learn how the, some of the trainings that they do just don’t cover all of the issues that they really want to as an institution. And this is not just cders. This is health systems across the country, even community clinics. There’s provider fatigue. Cause there aren’t enough providers, especially in the mental health space. So a lot of primary care clinicians are dealing with mental health issues rather than dealing with what they’re trained to deal with, and that’s primary physiological issues. But you really can’t disassociate one from the other. And some.

This is funny. Some providers actually thought that this sexual harassment training was equivalent to LGBTQ cultural competency training, and I had to do everything I could to not last.

[00:11:37] Calan Breckon: Somebody said that. Somebody’s like, oh, no, this is the same thing.

[00:11:40] Justin Ayars: No, no. Several clinicians. And these are brilliant clinicians, and it doesn’t matter where they were. It doesn’t matter. It’s just they’re out there. But they really didn’t know.

And I said, great. So you don’t slap women on the ass in work. Good for you. But what about serving the patients that are coming to you with real concerns and serving them in a way that they can be themselves and explain to you how they’re navigating whatever challenge it is they’re dealing with, mental, physical, or emotional?

[00:12:13] Calan Breckon: Yeah. I’m curious, do you have any data around the LGBTQ community? And, like, if we’re disproportionately find ourselves more sick or experience things because we don’t want to go to the doctor, we don’t have access, is there any kind of data points around?

[00:12:30] Justin Ayars: Oh, data. I love me some data. So we. With. Thanks to cedars, we did a 32,000 patient survey nationwide, one of the largest ever done for our community.

[00:12:43] Calan Breckon: That’s not small. That’s a pretty large data.

[00:12:46] Justin Ayars: We did that in partnership with the National Research Corporation, and their extensive research capabilities are all extensive. And then we did another one with UC Berkeley. About 350 patients. Everything from what type of care do you want to. How much are you willing to pay for the type of care that EqualityMD delivers? So, to answer your question, one in three in our community experiences discrimination in a clinical setting, as you and I both have and all of my team has, causing one in four to avoid care altogether.

And that’s not good for individuals, families, or communities, or public health. One in six are denied care, as I was when the doctor literally left the room because he was so uncomfortable. And one in eight live in us states where providers can legally deny care largely on religious grounds. And in 2016, the National Institutes of Health declared the LGBTQ community what’s called a health disparity population.

And there are various health disparity populations. Most racial minorities fit within that sector, but they categorized our community as such because of unique healthcare concerns, not just HIV AIDS, but also mental health issues.

Lesbian women tend to have higher rates of obesity compared to their non lesbian counterparts, which affects, of course, all kinds of other issues, mental and physical. And the unique health care concerns was one. The other was historic lack of access to care. What I found fascinating was that the NIH didn’t address. The elephant in the room is that the medical system, as it is established today in the United States, has systemic discrimination built into it against the LGBTQ community, because for decades, being homosexual was considered a mental disorder. And it wasn’t until 1992, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality as a mental disorder from their books, which is not that long ago.

[00:14:54] Calan Breckon: I was. I was well and alive. Like, yeah, I was born in the eighties. So, okay, I didn’t.

[00:15:02] Justin Ayars: We’re all crazy, but I don’t know if there’s a mental disorder going on.

[00:15:05] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I didn’t realize it was that recent that. That changed.

[00:15:10] Justin Ayars: Yeah, that’s the WHO.

The US did some more stuff in the early mid seventies. But a lot of practitioners, particularly getting back to your question about different generations of practitioners, still, while they understand that there are LGBTQ people in the world contributing to society and living their lives, treating them, particularly because a patient provider relationship is so. So intimate, it’s one of the most intimate relationships one can have.

They’ve been unable to establish that level of trust so that the patient feels that they are seen and heard, which is critical in any clinical setting.

[00:15:55] Calan Breckon: So those numbers you just shared, do you know what the kind of counter to those are like, what the heteronormative numbers of that equivalent would be like? Are they less so that more people go compared to us? Do you have that kind of comparison for the data?

[00:16:13] Justin Ayars: Well, I have sort of broad comparisons. Other health disparity populations, African Americans, Hispanics, for example, also struggle when it comes to cultural competency and receiving education providers, receiving education to care for those particular communities.

Military veterans, as well. Women are often blamed for conditions. I mean, how many centuries were women called hysterical rather than being diagnosed with some type of disease or symptoms? And that has sort of woven itself into the broader United States healthcare mindset of the haves, the have nots, the others. And so there are studies out there that show that our community, which does represent every other underserved community, from racial minorities to military veterans, does suffer from higher rates of all kinds of diseases and also are often blamed for those diseases and are, as such, less healthy. And that, of course, over time, leads to poor decision making or a lack of self confidence. In the ability to seek out a provider that might be able to deliver the services you need, especially when it comes to mental health. So it’s. There are all kinds of statistics out there, and while I don’t have the numbers in front of me, it’s not just LGBTQ. It’s basically everyone who’s not a white male, straight white male.

[00:17:55] Calan Breckon: Yeah, that sounds about right.

It’s my opinion that a healthy community, a healthy country that doesn’t live in fear of, oh, if I break my arm, I can’t go to the hospital, or, oh, if something happens to me, I’m going to be in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, operates in a very different way than a for profit medical system.

Do you have anything to say in terms of what comparisons are to other countries and their LGBTQ populations? Do you know of any other country that’s doing well that you found, like, oh, we can model something after them, or, like, they’ve found something out?

[00:18:36] Justin Ayars: I wouldn’t say that we have found an ideal model. I will say that different countries, particularly former colonies of the UK, Australia, Canada, the UK itself, they’re making progressive strides.

I don’t have the numbers for them, but I see and know people who are involved in those efforts. Some, like Australia, are struggling to get off the ground, but they are making headway. And here in the US, there’s some, and mostly are nonprofit or serve the transgender community, like folks and bloom. Both of companies do fantastic work, but that’s 4% of the broader LGBTQ space. And so, addressing the whole. What’s Stoji? Sexual orientation, gender identity is the data that a lot of health entities need to collect. Because at the heart of what we’re talking about, it’s not just discrimination within the healthcare system from clinicians. It’s a lack of data about how we as patients behave. What is the patient journey? How do we behave as consumers? Because patients are also consumers, and without that data, it exacerbates and perpetuates generational discrimination, leading to fewer healthcare visits, increased distrust in health systems. And if you, as a patient, don’t trust a provider and they’re put in some giant building filled with providers wrapped with red tape and throw some insurance in there, and some pharma reps on K Street in DC lobbying for increased pharmaceutical prices, it doesn’t really make anyone want to go to see a doctor.

[00:20:25] Calan Breckon: No. And I think it might be Australia. I could be getting this wrong, but I think in Australia, they were doing a PrEp study around the actual cost of the cost of the country of somebody living with HIV AIDS versus providing PrEP medication to prevent it from happening. And the cost differences of providing the medication was significantly cheaper for the country to provide that over having to deal with the medical costs later on of somebody living with HIV and AIDS. And so in my mind, I’m just like, as a country, as a government, you would think that they would be like, this is actually huge cost savings to us to invest into these things, but it’s clearly not happening. Canada, we have it. I think in BC, they have it for free. I get mine for free here in Ontario, but that’s because I kind of go through, like, there’s a program called Freddie where they help subsidize, and then also you can get certain other government subsidy programs that you have to apply to.

[00:21:24] Justin Ayars: But.

[00:21:25] Calan Breckon: But across the board, I just think that it would be great if we adopted these things because the costs to the government would be better. But then on the other side of it, you got the capitalism being like, no, but we need the money.

[00:21:38] Justin Ayars: Well, you’re getting to the heart of it is that any preventative measure is, in the long run, significantly cheaper, produces better outcomes and happier patients who are healthier, their life journeys. And that goes from diet and exercise to making sure you get checked for having regular mammograms, regular physicals, and gay and bisexual men. Don’t forget anal cancer screening, which is something that is not talked about. And we’re going to be doing some work with Cedar Sinai on that particular issue to raise awareness about that very treatable disease. But once it spreads, anything can happen.

[00:22:20] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I want to go back to the data that you said. There just hasn’t been the data. This also translates over to just the broader population. I recently had a conversation with.

I recently had a conversation around VC’s accelerators and why in the LGBTQ community, they’re starting to crop up and become more popularized. And it’s because StartOut did a study about LGBTQ founders and how we perform exponentially better than our cisgendered counterparts, heterosexual cisgender counterparts. Um, and so now we have those numbers, and now we have that data to be like, here’s your proof. I can only assume the same is kind of being done here around the medical being. Like, we’re collecting. You’re collecting the data, and now you’re putting it together. So. So what does all this data have to do with the equality and equity? And how are you using that to move things forward with. With your company?

[00:23:17] Justin Ayars: Just because you have data and show it to someone and they say that they like it and it can change things. Doesn’t mean that anyone’s going to do a damn thing, because systems, particularly one that takes up one fifth of America’s gdp, as healthcare does, is reluctant to change. And that’s particularly because of all the players, the middlemen, the managed care systems, hospitals, insurers, they’re out to make a profit. So presenting any of those entities, those healthcare players with the data, might cause them to raise an eyebrow, maybe ask a question, but it might remain on the back burner. I’ve been approached by, I’ll just say a healthcare insurance company about a year and a half ago, and they were looking to.

They had what was called an LGBTQ mandate. And I said, what the hell’s that? And they said, well, we’re trying to make the experience for our members of our insurance company members more inclusive and also attract new members. And so I worked with them for four months to create a foundation upon which they could build a more inclusive culture. And that doesn’t happen overnight. And then we were supposed to get an RFP, and usually the one that helps writes it gets it. And they ended up going with some other company that effectively rainbow washed their brand because they realized to do what I was proposing and what the colleagues of temporary colleagues had at that, that payer at the time we were proposing was a monumental shift in corporate culture. And that is very hard pill to swallow, particularly because although you can see the data you were talking about, it ends up, in the long term, being a solid business move from an economic standpoint. But the short term pain points. There’s going to be some pain, there are going to be some losses, and they weren’t willing to go through that. So they picked another entity that said they were doing LGBTQ things, but they just tacked that stuff on the end for a good press release and some good media attention. So it’s problematic when it comes to data, because the data has to then be translated into actionable insights. So what we’re doing is we’re saying not only is discrimination preventing patients from receiving care or even avoiding care, but it’s costing you the hospital money, because instead of getting preventative treatment for XYZ, they’re ending up in your emergency department, more expensive for you insurance company, because they’re going to you to cover these expenses that could have been prevented. So it’s in your financial best interest to take these set of data and the insights that we have translated them into for your specific entities. And this goes for corporations, too, for their employee bases to actually make any meaningful shift. And it’s going to take time. It’s not going to happen overnight. But the fact these conversations are happening are great. We’re at a point now where I go to health tech conferences and I hear health equity thrown around, even tech witty, and that’s great. But the question is, when are the people on stage going to come off stage and start doing something rather than just talking? And that’s not. Not that everyone’s doing that, but we’ve been talking about it a lot now, and still very few are doing real work in the space. Rather than veneer work a nice facade to check a box for Dei or whatever. Yeah, it’s a challenging space, evolving, but that’s why we’re here.

[00:27:00] Calan Breckon: Yeah. And I don’t think you’re alone in that. I’m reminded of conversation I had a podcast episode I did with Do The WeRQ and the amazing folks over there. They were talking about how the data came in around things like it was all about marketing. And so it’s like, to the LGBTQ community. And so they collected all this data and they said, look, if I take Bud light, for example, if you had just stuck with us, in the long run, your brand would actually have been more profitable. In the short run, you see that instantaneous gut reaction and decline. But in the long run, had you stuck with us, we then would have come to you and said, you stuck with us. We’re going to have you at our prize. We’re going to have you here. We’re going to do that. We’re going to choose to drink you, and your numbers would have grown again. And then that customer loyalty would have been there because you stood with us at the sidelines instead of running away. But when you back off, that’s actually a huge detriment to your brand because the broader population actually does care about these things, especially the younger generation, and they’re putting their money where their mouth is, and they are choosing to boycott you. They are choosing to full on not pay for things because they’re just, like, over the b’s. And so it’s not just in the medical data, it’s not just over here. The companies still need to choose to do something with that data and with that information. And I think the only way that change is truly going to happen is when you look at the money and you go, at the end of the day, this will equal more money for you. And then it becomes a conscious decision for them to be like, no, but we’re still going to discriminate. It’s like, cool. You showed us your true colors, but at least we know the data. You know the data, and you now know that this is an active choice for you. And if your shareholders get a hold of this information, they’re not going to be very happy about it.

[00:29:01] Justin Ayars: Well, it’s.

You hit so many points that are salient to everything I’ve been doing since January of 2015, when I started a multimedia marketing and media company called Qmedium. We published magazines. We ended up hosting wedding shows, this first same sex wedding show in Virginia. Before marriage equality was legal, we helped make the American Civil War museum in Richmond an LGBTQ wedding destination. We helped Virginia, the tourism corporation, do an LGBTQ marketing campaign. For five years, we sat out on the governor’s commission. All this goes to the idea that if you present companies with data, with numbers, with money, they will see. The wise ones will see it as a long term investment rather than a short term gimmick where you wave a rainbow flag during the month of June and then put it back in the closet on July 1.

I used to travel across the country talking to both nonprofits and Fortune 500s, as well as chambers of commerce, etcetera, and I was brought in for a marketing standpoint. How can we authentically market to this 1.7 trillion LGBTQ consumer market? That’s the US market, I think. Globally, it’s 3.9 trillion. It’s one of the wealthiest niche markets in the United States.

[00:30:22] Calan Breckon: We’re dinks up in here. Double income, no kids.

[00:30:26] Justin Ayars: Well, the thing is, when I said, if you really want to capture this almighty pink dollar, if you will, it’s going to take more than a few marketing gimmicks. You’re going to have to really change from the top down.

Instill dei into your corporate DNA. And I had eyes roll. That’s too much work, too much change. Just do this. That’s what we hired you for. And I said, I’ll do what I’m hired for, but really consider this. Some have, and some are doing great work. Others have not. And it’s just fun to see EqualityMD doing what we’re doing now for patients because we were doing the same thing for consumers and companies as a marketing and media company. And I’ve always said people are dumb. Consumers are smart. And when it comes to healthcare, we’re consumers, and we’re wising up to what is and what isn’t there for us as an underserved community health disparity. Population that we need and to have in our lives and we deserve to as human beings.

[00:31:31] Calan Breckon: Nice. So I want to try and wrap things up here with equality. MD, how are you now actively working with your growing population of people who are working through you, or the customers who are coming through you? What’s their experience been and what’s your trajectories for the next kind of five year plan?

[00:31:49] Justin Ayars: Sure. So we just finished the Halcyon accelerator after the Cedars Sinai accelerator. So we’ve gone through, we’ve learned a lot and made a lot of great connections. So we have an LGBTQ health tech platform that’s out now. We’re doing some organic marketing in the next several weeks through our existing partners like chambers, LGBTQ chambers of commerce, nonprofits, including free clinics, because a lot of free clinics only do so much, and so we can serve as an augmented option for LGBTQ patients to be their authentic selves. So we’re growing in some of the larger markets across the country, the New York region, the DC region, LA, the population centers. But really, it’s a national effort. So if you live in rural Iowa, there’s an option for you there. So while we grow that, we have a good deal with our telehealth partner that’s helping us with some of the technology and the providers, and they are allowing us to generate rapid, monthly, recurring revenue, which we’re then pumping back into the main platform that we started to build in 21, 22. That is an AI powered LGBTQ healthcare and data analytics platform, so that we can definitively capture the data, specifically patient journey data, social determinants of health, consumer behavioral data analytics, and take that and transform that into insights that can increase patient engagement, improve patient outcomes, generate predictive analytics, and we’re even building an LGBTQ GPT for providers who help them create safe spaces, digitally or in person with an LGBTQ patient in real time. So over the next two years, we’re going to be strictly telehealth. But then two to three years from then, we’re going to launch the larger platform, migrate patients from what we’re calling our go to market product, the telehealth platform, to the larger platform, where there are community forums, there’s all kinds of new options, and that will also incorporate all of the lovely traditional elements of american healthcare, like hospitals and insurance. Whereas right now, we’re a cash pay model and there’s already interest in health entities acquiring us even before we’ve done some big press launch or built the final platform, because they see us as having an authentic connection to a community that they want to engage because they’re experiencing those undue clinical, economic, operational burdens of people not going in for treatment preventatively. And they want to rather than build it themselves because the community won’t trust it if a big corporation comes out with something like EqualityMD, but rather buy those up and integrate it into their existing ecosystem operationally. And hopefully we may even be acquired in the next five to eight years. And if so, then that’s great, because we’ll be able to serve more people. I’ll probably stick around as maybe an entrepreneur in residence or advisor to make sure that the handoff is done correctly and not rainbow box checked, because this is very near and dear to me, to my family, to all our stakeholders and those who put faith in us thus far. So we want to do it right.

[00:35:21] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I think that that’s one of the really important things with LGBTQ entrepreneurship. A lot of us have seen kind of what goes on in the world, and we’re like, you know what? We kind of want to keep it in the family. They’ve kept it in the family and the gatekeepers up until now. Let’s build our own gatekeeping communities where it’s like, we have LGBTQ investors, we have LGBTQ mentors. We are here for the LGBTQ community. And if we do eventually get to that sell point, it needs to be really, really clear as to the things in the boxes that they need to check for us to be like, okay, we’re willing to engage with this because if you’re just going to be checking off a box, I would rather just continue being profitable on a smaller scale than to just make sure that you check your box.

[00:36:05] Justin Ayars: We’ll never do anything that would actively do a disservice to our community because we started this to solve a problem, not add to it.

[00:36:14] Calan Breckon: Exactly. Um, so you’ve said it’s cash model. Where can folks either sign up or find out more about what you’re doing or if they want to use your services?

[00:36:21] Justin Ayars: Sure.

It’s that simple. And we are offering a discount code for those who are what we call early adopters.

And if people would like that code, all they have to do is reach out to me,, or find me on LinkedIn. And that instead of, well, here’s what you get for dollar 79 a month, you can have twelve mental health visits, twelve primary care visits, and twelve urgent care visits per year. Each mental health is a full 50 minutes session as well as access to over 1000 medications delivered discreetly to your door, taxes, shipping and handling, all included with the dollar 79 a month subscription. That’s a deal. And then some, considering the cost of just a single mental health visit on the cheap side is $100 to $200. And a lot of times insurance companies don’t cover all of that. So cash pay is actually cheaper in this sense. And you know, you’re getting connected to affirming providers and that’s, that’s amazing. So, but the discount, we knock off $30 a month and that’s for life. So you can have $49 a month and still have access to those services.

[00:37:41] Calan Breckon: That’s a really good deal. You’re going to have to send me that in an email so I can make sure I have the correct information in the show notes for everybody.

[00:37:48] Justin Ayars: It’s a lot, a lot of people say that’s too good to be true. Well, this partner of ours, they’ve negotiated rates for years with some of the nation’s largest provider groups, the same groups that, and this is what people don’t know about telehealth is that say a group of mental health professionals, they’re 20,000. Well, betterhelp uses them, Teladoc uses them, everybody uses them. So they’ve negotiated rates down so low but still keeping the quality of the service so high. And also because of what’s called breakage, people who like, like a gym membership, you don’t go every day. So very few people use those 36 telehealth visits every year because if you need twelve urgent care visits a year, you should probably be more careful in how you walk through.

[00:38:36] Calan Breckon: You got problems.

[00:38:37] Justin Ayars: Yeah, there might be other problems there underlying, but they are available and that’s a really, we wanted to make this as affordable and accessible as possible so that we can learn also from patients on our platform what we’re doing wrong, because it won’t be perfect, but also what we’re doing right and what they would like to see. And over time we’ll build that into the larger platform which we are very, very excited about.

[00:39:07] Calan Breckon: Yeah, that’s even a good deal for canadian for having the mental health calls because that’s, I mean, it’s expensive up here. Justin, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast. This has been very, very enlightening.

[00:39:18] Justin Ayars: Thank you for having me. Love talking about this stuff. It’s my passion.

[00:39:23] Calan Breckon: This is such an incredibly important area for our community and I’m sorry. So glad that we have people out there like Justin and EqualityMD working for us so that we can have a safer experience when we get our medical help. Thank you so much for tuning in today. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button. And if you really enjoyed today’s episode, I would love a star rating from you, it makes me very happy when I get those.

The Business Gay podcast is written, produced and edited by me, Calan Breckon. That’s it for today. Peace, love, rainbows.

Calan Breckon
Calan Breckon

Calan Breckon is an SEO Specialist and host of "The Business Gay" podcast. He has worked with companies such as Cohere and Canada Life and has been a guest on the "Online Marketing Made Easy" podcast with Amy Porterfield as well as featured in publications like Authority Magazine and CourseMethod.

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