How a Nurse Entrepreneur is Creating Community for New Mothers
As a registered nurse and population health specialist, Layo George fell in love with delivering care for new mothers. But through her experiences in labor and delivery, she began to observe inequalities in healthcare experiences for new mothers of color. This led Layo to dive deeper into the nationwide maternal health crisis facing black women, with her findings fueling her passion to make a difference and ultimately create Wolomi.
Through programs, services and events, Wolomi provides clinical and emotional support for black women who are thinking of becoming pregnant, are already pregnant or recently had a baby. By combining innovative tools and strategies with maternal health experts and champions, Wolomi aims to create a community that can empower black women throughout their motherhood journey, as well as help drive better health outcomes for both the mothers and their babies.
The Johnson & Johnson Notes on Nursing team recently spoke with Layo to learn more about the inspiration behind Wolomi, her inspiring work addressing inequalities in maternal health for black women and what she’d like to see come out of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
“Eku wolomi” is a greeting to a woman after she gives birth in the Yoruba culture. It means “happy putting hands in water,” as members of community often put their hands in water to celebrate and care for the new mom and her newborn baby. At Wolomi, we are on a mission to create a community that empowers black women throughout their motherhood journey.
Through Wolomi, we’ve created an authentic space of quality that speaks to the modern-day black woman, a community that healthcare overall has been slow to adapt to. We’re fulfilling the need for a digital space where women can go online, find community and receive answers to their questions from women like them and healthcare professionals they can trust.
I would also tell today’s nursing students in this area of healthcare that it’s very important to believe and listen to the women. Many of the women I work with have a large distrust of healthcare systems, and a lot of that stems from their needs not being addressed when they spoke to their healthcare provider. When a patient says they feel weird or off, explore that. Women may not be able to explain what they are feeling, but they are the experts of their own body. We have the clinical skills to interpret what they are experiencing. And nurses are uniquely positioned to lead in improving care delivery here because they are often the first to know when things are off with a patient.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s been a long journey, but I’ve been so lucky to have a supportive husband, as well as a mentor who understands my feelings and frustrations. I’m so proud of where Wolomi is today, now a convener for experts in the field to help improve health outcomes for women of color. I realize now that one of the biggest hurdles in my entrepreneurship journey was me. I had the expertise and the passion to make a difference—I just found myself asking what I was waiting for.