Bio: Katya is a biological anthropologist turned healthcare founder, and has ecosystem experience ranging from direct patient care as an Army combat medic to building products at scale as a corporate vice president of product and innovation at a Midwestern Blue Cross plan. She is currently the Co-Founder and CEO of Hopper Health, the first virtual primary care and health navigation service for neurodivergent adults. As an autistic + ADHD person with co-occuring disabilities, Katya has a unique perspective on neurodivergent healthcare challenges, and leads with lived experience and care for her community.
Org Info: Hopper Health is a virtual primary care and navigation service purpose-built for neurodivergent adults. Hopper enables neuroaffirming care through peer navigator support, PCPs who are educated in common co-occuring conditions, and sensory, communication, and information-processing accommodations required for the more than 30 million neurodivergent US adults who need it.
What motivated you to pursue your current work?
I’m building Hopper so that no neurodivergent person ever has a delayed, missed, or denied diagnosis simply because of lack of provider education or differences in communication. Neurodivergent people are the canaries in the coal mine for poor experiences, and the cognitive load required to navigate healthcare can easily become overwhelming without support. I personally had a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease delayed by almost a decade, because my primary care providers were not trained to recognize how I communicated my symptoms, and weren’t aware of the high prevalence of IBS and IBD in the autistic population. I know we can do better!
What distinct value does your work bring to the digital health field?
We are identifying and meeting the needs of a massive population that has largely been invisible, whether because of stigma, lack of understanding, or lack of resources. Part of our mission is to share what we learn with other entities in the healthcare ecosystem, to raise the level of understanding and quality of care for neurodivergent people, and to build a federated ecosystem of services that are easy for us to access and use.
How does your work impact your target end-users or stakeholders?
Our goal is for our members to invest less effort and energy into their healthcare, so they have more energy to invest in the rest of their lives. An actual Hopper member told us, “I was so excited to talk to you this morning because joining Hopper has changed my life. I have been able to do things that I never thought I could. My whole life is better and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me!”
What is one exciting update or near-term opportunity that you would like to share with the digital health community?
We are now live in 6 states (CA, DC, FL, IL, NY, WA) and have added provider education and credentialing specific to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ healthcare topics as requirements for all of our providers. We are excited to support the intersecting identities of our members and expand access to identity-affirming care.