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Episode 46: Can you harness capitalism to accelerate healthy equity? Squire Servance of Syridex Bio says yes

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February 01, 2024

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Episode 46: Can you harness capitalism to accelerate healthy equity? Squire Servance of Syridex Bio says yes

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Health equity is a hot topic these days. There’s no question that certain populations have better and more frequent access to healthcare – not to mention sometimes dramatic variations in the quality of care. Health inequities drive roughly $320 billion in annual healthcare spending – money that could be better spent elsewhere if we could just figure out a way to address this issue. While there is no silver bullet to addressing health equity, Squire Servance, founder and managing partner at Syridex Bio, is trying to do his part. Syridex Bio is an impact-driven, life sciences-focused firm investing in therapies that address the needs of underserved communities. Squire joins Justin for the final episode of Definitively Speaking to explore the social and economic costs of healthcare disparity, the challenge of developing treatments for underserved groups, and why investing in health equity is both good business sense and just plain good.

Justin and Squire discuss the root causes of health inequity in the U.S. and examine how Syridex Bio harnesses capitalism to develop treatments for patient demographics that the market has largely ignored. They discuss the challenge of securing market access, the push-pull relationship between on- and off-patent drugs, and why it’s worth being optimistic about health equity.

Plus, Justin says goodbye to the incredible guests, listeners, and production team of Definitively Speaking as we bring this edutaining series to a close.

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Episode transcript

Definitively Speaking is a Definitive Healthcare podcast series recorded and produced in Framingham, Massachusetts. To learn more about healthcare commercial intelligence, please visit us at Hello and welcome to another episode of Definitively Speaking, the podcast where we have data-driven conversations on the current state of healthcare. I'm Justin Steinman, Chief Marketing Officer of Definitive Healthcare and your host for this podcast. Health equity is a hot topic these days. There's no question that certain populations have better and more frequent access to healthcare. Not to mention sometimes dramatic variations in the quality of care. Your geography, your ethnicity, your socioeconomic status should not impact the quality or frequency of the healthcare you receive. But while that's easy to say and easy to support, it's not so easy to deliver. According to a 2022 report from the Deloitte Health Equity Institute, health inequities are a drain on the economy and are linked to an additional 320 billion, that's billion with a B, in annual healthcare spending, which may grow to 1 trillion, as in trillion with a T, by 2040 if nothing is done about it. The Deloitte Health Equity Institute report says that health inequities account for roughly $42 billion a year in lost productivity and add about 15.6 billion in unnecessary spending associated with diabetes and 2.4 billion treating asthma. These costs are the result of delayed care, access barriers, misdiagnoses, and limited access to preventive services and scientific advances. And that brings me to my guest today, Squire Servance. Specifically in the area of scientific advances. Squire Servance is a founder of Syridex Bio. Syridex Bio is an impact-driven life sciences focused firm, investing in therapies that address the needs of underserved communities. Under Squire's leadership, Syridex Bio is in the process of launching the first of several $10 million investment funds dedicated to researching and developing advanced medicines and therapies to treat medical conditions that disproportionately impact Blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and other racial or ethnic minorities. Squire's distinctive strength lies in his capacity to connect scientific innovation with tangible real world outcomes. He not only trained as a cell biologist, but holds a JD, an MBA in corporate finance, and a certificate in healthcare sector management from Duke University. And he might just be the best educated person we've ever had on our podcast. So Squire, welcome to Definitively Speaking. We're glad to have you here.

Oh, it's a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

All right, so let's get started by going back to those statistics that I mentioned in the opening segment a few moments ago. Those numbers are just staggering. Are you surprised by them?

I'm not surprised. Right? So like, growing up in my community, I'm African American and like we always discussed, you know, health disparities and this disproportionality, and so it was common, right? And so I'm not shocked by those numbers that they're so large and that they are such a significant drain on the economy. I found it interesting that, you know, for at least for myself, right, you know, I always talked about it, but I think Covid really brought it to the forefront more so the last several years because it was really hard to hide the fact that certain groups were dying more, going to the hospital more, staying longer. And so you started hearing, and we're not just hearing, but hearing and seeing it on television and people talking about it more. So, those numbers are really high. And they're probably higher now because I think those numbers were from several years ago actually. So, they're probably higher than they are now.

Yeah, those are numbers from 2022. But it was the best, most reliable source I could find, you know, as I was researching.

Absolutely. I hear that.

And if they've only gone up from there, good lord. Good lord. So, you know, this leads me to a question that's easy to ask, but difficult to answer, which is my favorite kind of question. Because I get to ask and you get to answer. Which is why do we have so many gaps in healthcare equity in the United States?

Oh man, it is such a complex, it's a complex answer, right? There are so many things that have happened over the course of, you know, years, tens and hundreds of years that have caused this, right? So you could think about structural racism and discrimination. That's one aspect of it, right? You could think about socioeconomic factors that play into it, like income and wealth disparities, and who has access to certain treatments and certain doctors, but also kind of the socioeconomic factor ties into education. Who's being educated about these specific diseases? Environment, are you living in an area where it's bad environments, bad air, it's bad pollution, and that affects your health. And so it is really a complex issues that touches on a lot of different areas. So like, when you hear people talk about health equity, you usually break it down to like, social determinants of health, right? It's like four or five big, big buckets, right? Environment, so I touched on that. Economic stability. Who has the ability to kind of have jobs and pay for these types of treatments? Yeah, I said education, economic stability, environment, the socioeconomic context. That's another big one. And just really access to quality healthcare. Are there drugs being developed for the diseases that disproportionately impact your particular community? If not, then you're not gonna have the highest quality of access to care that you need.

You know, when we were prepping for this podcast, you gave me a great example of the impact of geography on health equity. And so I'm gonna cite your own data back to you here. So for our listeners out there, Camden, New Jersey and Cherry Hill, New Jersey are separated by only seven miles. I looked it up on Google Maps last night. The average life expectancy between those two areas is 17 years difference, right? Seven miles should not equal 17 years. I'm not sure it should equal 17 days, but definitely not 17 years, right? That's crazy. You know, talk to me about that.

You see these datas, and that's not uncommon, right? I'm sure you could look at other cities across the countries that are adjacent to each other and see some of the disparities there. Now look, again, this goes into why this is such a, one, it's a hard issue to address, because like, how do you pinpoint why there's a 17 point difference? Is it the people, is it the policies that are causing it? Is it environment? Is it, you know, I know like, particularly in Camden, I don't know now, but like, boy, they didn't have a grocery store, right? So, can you get fresh groceries? If you can't, then that'll affect your ability to attain your highest level of living, right? So it's a difficult issue to address, but when you start seeing those stark disparities like that, you need to figure out a way, in a variety of different contexts, like how can we address this issue? Which like, and it takes the government, it takes private, it takes nonprofits, it takes health systems, to try to figure out a way to address this significant issue like this.

Yeah, it's really interesting. We've had a number of guests on and talked about it from different angles of it. And I think you hit on one with like, the food deserts and the grocery store. If you're not gonna get fresh fruits and vegetables and good meat, you're gonna have lower overall quality of health. Good diet is good preventative medicine. If CVS and Walgreens don't put one of their health clinics in, you know, a Camden, New Jersey, and they put 10 in Cherry Hill, well, everybody's not gonna get their Covid shot, as you just mentioned. Or they're not gonna get a flu shot. Or they're not gonna go to an ER for something that, sorry, to a CVS for something that could be minor. And then suddenly they show up in an ER driving the cost of care up. And so it really is like, and I can't blame CVS or Walgreens or any of those other places for not going to Camden. They're running their businesses, right? But at some point you've got to think about where is the economic obligation versus the social obligation or community obligation of these companies? And I don't have a good answer.

Unfortunately, there's no good answer. But like you'll see, and I don't wanna get the health system wrong, but there's a health system in New Jersey. They have mobile food pantries. I don't wanna say food pantries because you actually buy the food, but they'll bring a truck where you can buy groceries and they'll just drive around specific areas and things like that can help. But ultimately it's good to do, but ultimately it's like, look, if they're healthier, they're less likely to go to the emergency room which ultimately saves the cost for the, you know, the hospital system, but also overall the health system. So you have to start thinking creatively that, okay, it benefits me to make sure that everyone can attain their healthiest level of living, can be healthy. And so if you need to do a mobile food pantry or a food truck, what have you, that can help your community and help those people live a little bit longer, a little bit better.

And you're starting to see some of that vertical integration, particularly on the payer side of healthcare, right? So CVS gets you into an Aetna insurance plan. They send you to MinuteClinic which, you know, benefits their part of the business. They get you good prescription drugs. But hopefully you're helped there, and the lower cost of insurance. United, very, very similar model. United is a bit heavier on the provider side of things, but they're hoping to, you know, try to drive you to their Optum clinics, right? And get their doctors to treat you and hopefully keep you out there, and that's lowering health insurance. I think it's really interesting to go, but I think it's more than just those verticals that need to do it. I think there's a big role for the government in this and some in private industry as well.

Yeah like I, private, I think hospital systems, governments, they absolutely, they're constituents, right? You want them to be able to live a a long life, right? A long and healthy life. Literally, that's a trade off, right? If I can live longer, but it's also is tied to like, you know, they live longer, they're more productive to society, they're more productive, they're building more wealth for their families, right? And so it's not just benefits from tax, but I think that's one way you, we should think about it, but you are right. Like, there's a variety of different ways. And I always, when I talk about health and equity, a lot of times immediately like, oh, it's like, all right, it's a giveaway. It's a grant, it's something that, it's more of a do good thing as opposed to like, no, this makes business sense. Right now I saw there was like a report that was interesting I think it was another Deloitte and they said I think it's somewhere 80 to 85% of the life sciences and healthcare executives that they interviewed have health equity now as one of their top 10 issues, right? So you're starting to see not just a regulatory push and that's happening from the FDA down, but also health systems, life sciences companies are now saying, okay, not just this is something good to do, but it's good business, right? And it is good business.

And you know, coming back to some of the comments you made earlier about structural racism and some of the economic stuff, you know, I think home ownership plays a big role in this. And a lot of these, you know, underserved minority communities, the levels of home ownership haven't been there. When you own your own home, the quality of your environment and your living environment is better. You're not reliant on someone to make sure that your fridge works or your water works or that you have heat, and the economic benefits that come from home ownership also is better.

Yeah, absolutely. Like what I was saying, like structural race and discrimination. Discrimination, right, you had redlining, you had discriminatory lending practices that segregated neighborhoods which limited resources to others, you know, certain communities. Which is why it's such a difficult issue to kind of fix because it is ingrained going back hundreds of years now. We're trying to unravel, right? And until, and I think it's more so now, people are starting to think about it as, okay, this makes business sense to do, this is not just, hey, the right thing to do, but it's business sense to do. You'll hopefully start to see some movement in the space. Like, you know, like President Biden created a Climate Change and Health Equity Office and now you're under HHS, so you now have this office that, you know, to some extent covers health equity and addressing it. You do now have the federal government, there's a bill being, you know, whether it gets approved or not we'll see, but I think it's called the Health Equity and Accountability Act, which identifies specific diseases and says, all right, what can we do, how can we deploy capital into some of these diseases to, you know, as maternal health, there's some diseases called around high impact minority diseases that are impacting certain communities. How can we direct dollars to these particular diseases to get new treatments, to get new diagnostics, to test them, and services around making sure that these particular folks that have these diseases can have the best access to quality care that they can. And so you're starting to see slowly more of that happening definitely from the federal and state government level, but hopefully now from the business side of things.

And the business side. That's what you're doing actually with Syridex Bio.

Yeah exactly, that's exactly what we're doing. My goal really is to harness capitalism and direct it in a way to accelerate health equity, close gaps, right? So, we're a biopharma investment firm. We make early stage, I would say venture creation type investments and innovative therapies, but specifically therapies that treat diseases that disproportionately impact underserved communities. So, we're specifically looking for diseases where there are great disparities, you know, while we want to do good. But the reality is we think there's untapped opportunities there, you know, at the intersection of looking at diseases from a health equity lens, looking at some of the macroeconomic trends in the biopharma space and generally from a biotech and how early stage biotechs operate. We think there's untapped opportunities where if you can invest, you'll get strong returns. And if we execute on this thesis effectively and efficiently, you'll also get new treatments in the areas where there are the greatest disparities. And so that's the model we chose because you know, when we looked at it, and if you want to kind of move the needle, I think you need to kind of piggyback off the capitalism. And I think that's a great way to do it to help move the needle here.

Where'd you get the idea for this company?

Oh man. So I can go back for years on where this ultimately came, but so, you know, I was trained as a biomedical engineer, did neuroscience, but I went to law school and business school. I practiced as an attorney for a number of years. And early on in my career I was doing patent work and some deal work in life sciences. I saw that the true power to advance innovation lied with the people that were holding the purse strings. So like, who was actually doling out capital? So very early in my legal career, I knew I wanted to pivot into investments. And I had a mentor in this space, they were like, if you want to go this route, this is what you need to do. You need to go leave the law firm. You need to go in-house and build a track record, do a bunch of deals. And so for about 8-10 years of my legal career, I was following that path. So, you know, people see I may have started my fund a few years ago, but it was 10 years in the making to get to the point where I started this. And we got to, you know, that was just broadly investing in life sciences and innovation. And then Covid happened. You know, again as I mentioned, you start to see health disparities being more prevalent in conversations and on the news. And I was thinking through a unique way to invest, not just to get returns, but also to help address that big need in society and in America and what have you. And so, you know, it was the idea for the fund. We saw this opportunity, this untapped opportunity, to invest in a way to kind of do both. And we kind of combined it and we launched it in end of 2022. So, that's kind of the impetus for it. But it's been great. People have been receptive to what we're doing and how we're trying to do it. And I would say we're not necessarily the, you do see other funds in the health equity space. They're a little bit different than ours. You know, a lot of times you might see them stay focused on, for example investing in minority-led or women-led companies in the life sciences space. That's their kind of health equity angle. And I think though that's needed because you look at the numbers, you know, the numbers those types of groups and companies get from a VC standpoint, they're abysmal. Our focus is a little bit different. It's like we want to identify what drug will help certain disease areas where there's a big disproportionality. So ours is a little bit different, but there's some other funds out there doing really great work in the space.

Yeah. You know, I was thinking about it. It is a huge challenge for you to solve, but it's also very expensive and potentially a very long time ROI in drug development, very risky. I mean, how many drugs don't do it, right? And you know, you are a bright guy. You could have gone and done a lot of different stuff for addressing health inequity, right? You could have done something, you know, closer to care delivery, or closer to stuff around, you know, medical. I mean, all sorts of different stuff, but you are really passionate about like, the drug angle, right?

Yeah. I'm passionate about the drug angle. Though I'll also say it's the path of least resistance for me. That's my background, right? I have 15, you know, now 15 years in this space, right? From writing patents to doing deals. And so that's where my experience lies. That's where my partner's experience lies. And so we know the space, and when we look at, you know, it is long return, it's high risk, high reward. But generally I think, you know, biotech, when you get those wins, they're really big wins. And you know, I think it does take a specialized expert with a unique skillset, unique background, to understand the landscape and particularly the regulatory framework to invest appropriately in this area. So I'll say it's just, it's a difficult area to invest in broadly, but I think we have a strong team to kind of execute on that. And like I said, we're not necessarily new. There's a whole bunch of other life sciences funds that have been doing the same work.

So what are some of the medicines and therapies that you've got in development, if you can share them without blowing any confidentiality, right? Like, what's going on?

I'll share some of the high level therapeutic areas that we're looking at and maybe could touch on diseases. So like we're currently focused on kind of autoimmune, from a autoimmune area, from a therapeutic area perspective. We're also looking at some of the things that's central nervous system, right? So, CNS and neurology. From a autoimmune, we're looking at some unique therapies in lupus, right? We're looking at alopecia, sarcoidosis. Those are some areas we're actively identifying specific assets. Some which we've, like for example for lupus, I think we screened maybe 250, close to 250 unique different assets out that space. And we spoke with 20 or so companies. One of them that's rising to the top that we've really, really liked and wanna move forward with. And so that's one. And then, you know, there's some other ones in the neurology space that we like where, you know, there's a rare disease, I won't go into details because it's probably to figure out, and we're still kind of in discussions with them, but it's a rare disease that we know disproportionately impacts people of color that there's currently no treatment for. And it's a high mortality rate. So it's like, 70% of the people die within, you know, four to six months, something like that. And there's this very relative, it's innovative cell therapy that effectively stops the progression of the virus. You know, when we look at it, we think if you invest appropriately, you'll get strong returns. And we looked at the regulatory framework where we need to come in and invest and accelerate things from a regulatory standpoint. But also if we get it to market, right, you now have a treatment that disease that disproportionately impacts people of color were nonexistent previously. So like I think everybody went, you have a treatment that's out there that could effectively stop the progression of a really fatal disease and we think will get strong return on investments that we'll make. So, those are the types of diseases and targets that we're looking for. And look, our goal as specialized investors is to go find those assets that are hidden in plain sight that we can scoop up, acquire, build companies around, and invest in and move the needle. And so we take a lot of time, not just from reviewing the inbound stuff we have, but proactively going out and scouring the world, talking with folks in Australia, China, Europe, across the country in the US, where are those assets that we can really help move the needle from the health equity perspective.

It's really interesting. The one thing you gotta think about, though, is you gotta think not only about the development of drugs, but you gotta think about that last mile, which is what we were talking about earlier, right? So, amazing you come up with this drug that, you know, treats this virus, gets it there, disproportionately targets minority communities. But if there's no way to get the shots in the arms or the pills in the mouth, all your investment, good for nothing.

Absolutely. So like, part of our review is market access, right? So like, for example, I use sickle cell as a good example, right? So you have, there were two new gene therapies that were approved recently. Great technologies.

They're using CRISPR, actually.

Yeah, CRISPR right? Yeah. But there's a couple downsides with it, right? I think it makes you sterile. You can't have kids. You know, only a certain number of hospitals actually do the therapy. You have to take a week out from school. And so you look at the cell therapy, it is a cure for this particular disease, but how many people will actually go there? Now you can find a small molecule or a biologic that can modify the disease significantly enough where it could alleviate the symptoms and it could be a pill or an injection that you take. Now more people will likely use that than going to cell therapy. And so we had previously had looked at a sickle cell acid and it was a biologic, right? Because we knew even though the cell gene therapies would come out, there still would be an unmet need from folks in that perspective from like, hey, access to quick care and taking a week off and being stuck. So we knew that there still would be a need out there. And so we're looking at, we looked at things like that at sickle cell because like, look, it gives you broader access than cell therapy. And again, you invest appropriately or get the efficient development, you'll get your return on investment, but then also you're addressing an unmet need still.

The market access is really good. You know, kind of what I think about is, you've got someone like you kind of trying to think about finding the right drugs and make the early stage bets, and then you gotta bet on the Pfizers, the Moderna, the Eli Lillys, the big people all over the world, that got, you know, massive sales forces. And I almost kind of feel like it's almost their obligation to kind of create that last mile channel. Because ultimately that's feet on the street, and you don't have feet on the street, right? You're a small investment firm and those guys have got thousands of people, right? And so you gotta ask those folks to invest to get the drugs to the people, so to speak.

No, absolutely. And like just from, you actually see a lot of early stage biotech or smaller biotech companies do exactly that, right? Because at some point you have to make a decision. Are you going to build your own sales force or are you going to sell this particular asset or partner with a bigger company in big pharma, right? A lot in the biotech are happy to, you know, after investing 10, 15 years of their time and money to sell to a larger company and exit. And from a venture standpoint in how we invest, we anticipate most of the companies will get acquired, right? So we're in a unique position from just a biopharma industry, where biopharma's sitting on, it's definitely over a trillion dollars of firepower, to acquire products to buy, right? So then you have, they're facing up to around a $200 billion patent cliff. And so you're gonna have, over the next several years, a lot of the big drugs are gonna be coming off of patent and you're gonna have some generics coming in. And so a lot of the big pharma companies don't necessarily have products in the pipeline guaranteed that are gonna fill that gap, right? And so they're going to be looking to acquire companies and acquire different products to help fill those gaps. And you know, our hope is that, you know, obviously our portfolio companies will fit their remit, but also they're gonna be going out and doing the same thing a lot of their competitors are gonna be doing. They're trying to find the best drugs and get it to market. And so I think they're gonna be doing, you're gonna see a lot more acquisitions over the next several years.

But it's interesting you mentioned patents and cost because when drugs come off patent, for me as like, the consumer, hallelujah, right? Like I've been taking Lipitor forever, right? And so when Lipitor came off patent and my doctor moved me to atorvastatin, it went from like $30 a month to like $3. Right? And so we're sitting here talking about, you know, communities that may have socioeconomic challenges, these underserved communities may not have access to that money, may not have access to the best insurance to cover this type of stuff. And yet these drug companies are gonna be looking for these new drugs that you're developing to be their money makers as their current money makers come off of patent. How do you begin to solve that financial conundrum?

I think it's, at least in the US, they baked it into some of the constructs on how generics compete with the branded drugs, right? On one side you need to have an incentive to develop certain drugs. You know, the hit rate and success rate is low a lot of times and it takes a lot of money to develop a drug and get it to market. Like, I think it could take upward to a billion dollars starting from like, early, early on, to actually finally when it's approved, right? And so it is a very expensive proposition and you need to incentivize people to do that. And that's where patents come in. That's where FDA exclusivities come in saying, hey, look, if you get this product approved, we won't approve any new drugs in this or generic to compete against you for a period of time. And you need that. But the counterweight to that, you need generics, right? You want to drive the cost of healthcare down, right? So you need some type of incentive for companies to develop new and innovative therapies to address unmet needs. But also you need the generics to come in and say, okay, you've had your contract with society with patents, which is, I think is a contract saying, hey, look, we will prevent anyone from copying your work in exchange for a period of time. And after that period of time, you have to disclose to the world how that drug is made. That's the contract, that's patent, that's patent law. And so generics come in and say, okay, we acknowledge that. Now that, you know, that period is up, we can come in and help get new products on the market, drive that price down, or not new products, but generics on the market, and drive that price down. And you need both, right? I think you need both in society because you do wanna make sure that you incentivize innovation, but also you make sure that it's for a set period of time. And then when that time period expires, you can have other companies to come in and now start driving that profit, price those prices down.

So, but in that time when it is on patent, in these underserved communities, who's gonna foot the bill for the treatment?

Big pharma or any company that's developing a product is the one that's actually, they're the ones that are charging. So the companies that actually developed innovation are the ones who are gonna be charging the price. So now you wanna work with, like if you look at a lupus, they talk to insurance companies ahead of time to make sure that they're gonna cover this treatment at the price points that they're selling. And so you have that interaction as well. But at the end of the day, you want to, it's gonna be a combination of folks. Obviously the companies want to price it appropriately to, you know, to return on investments and things like that, because it takes a long time, particularly like a gene therapy, it takes a lot of money, a lot of time to get that up. But also you know, insurance companies are thinking, hey look, if I get them this treatment, they can live longer, live healthier, less healthcare costs in the long run for us that they're paying out. And so they'll cover the cost up to specific points, right? And so I think that's the balance and I think that's just the difficulty in, broadly, the healthcare system here is it's like, the people that are actually getting the treatment aren't necessarily the ones that are paying it and the ones that are paying and have to have discussion with the innovators and the ones that are developing these drugs to figure out the right pricing and make sure that they actually could sell it. And so it is a interesting dynamic just broadly in healthcare of how that ultimately plays out. Because like, look, if I'm a patient, I'm like look, just give me the treatment. Like I want everything. Right? Give me the best of the best of the best. And that's where insurance is ultimately gonna have, insurance does come in and, you know, figures out like, what we're paying for or what we're not, what is the cost benefit analysis of this particular treatment?

Yeah, I think it's not only insurance, it's also the government, right? So you got Medicare, Medicaid, you know, Obamacare. I mean, you got all that type of stuff that you need because they're also gonna help foot the bill. So, you know, that kind of leads me to like, I got two last questions. I could talk to you all day about this. This is fascinating and I'm very passionate about this topic, but I got two last questions for you. So, another big complicated question here. You know, in your view, who ultimately has responsibility for fixing the health equity issues in our country? Is it the government, the providers, the insurance, the individual?

I'm gonna give you an answer. It's gonna be very legal. It depends. Not it depends.

It depends!

It's everybody, right?

Everybody. That's okay. It's like it's everybody, right? Because there's no one group that can solve it all, right? You need to have hospital systems and doctors. Like I got my physical last year and they gave me a whole slew of, there was a questionnaire on social determinants. It was like, how are you living? Where are you living? What's your health? Like, what's your mind state? Like it was a whole slew of social determinants of health questions. So you need like, to have those questions asked at the provider level, right? You need to have systems think through like, hey, yeah maybe if we can get a mobile food, a delivery service into specific communities, that could help them live longer. You need the government because certain things only the government can do to help to kind of weigh in, right? You really need a lot of companies to understand that it's a business decision, that it's good business to address health equity. And I think you'll see a lot of them, you're starting to see a lot of them do it particularly with their employees that work there, but also make it into the business model for the product that they're developing and things like that. And so I think you're gonna start to see movement in that space. And then you have companies like myself that are coming in. And so, it's such a complex issue. It is going to take multiple different areas and groups and sectors to kind of address it.

But are you optimistic about our future here and the chances of making a change? 

Oh, absolutely. I'm extremely hopeful, right? I think one, you gotta be, right? If you don't, like why do it? But like I said I named a few things that you could see that are happening already. You've got the Climate Change and Health Equity Office, you have the bill that's circulating in Congress, Health Equity Accountability Act, right? You have, at least from this year, you know, health equity falls into the top 10 issues for a great majority of life sciences and healthcare providers. So you're starting to see, and the FDA, they're pushing for clinical trial diversity. So there are a lot of things that are happening now that I don't think will go away anytime soon. And once you start, once companies start baking it into their business, the business model, and they understand that this does make business sense for them, and I think capitalism will really come in and will help push the ball forward significantly in that regard as well.

Squire, thanks so much for your time today. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Thank you. It was a pleasure to be here.

And finally today, a programming note. After more than 50 episodes, this will be the last episode of Definitively Speaking. I'm leaving Definitive Healthcare shortly for a new career opportunity. And unfortunately with my departure, this podcast comes to an end. I hope you've enjoyed listening to it as much as we've enjoyed creating it. Our goal here was to deliver something that I call edutainment. We wanted to entertain you and also at the same time teach you a little something about the US healthcare system. I hope we've succeeded. I wanna take a moment and thank a few people who helped put this podcast together. First and foremost, thanks to all the guests who came on the show. Without you, there'd be no show. Each and every one of you is making a difference in our healthcare system. And I appreciate all of you sharing your knowledge on your perspectives, on what's working and what's not, and what we need to do about it. Second, while I might be the voice of Definitively Speaking, there's been a small army behind the scenes helping to produce this show. I wanna take a moment and give shout-outs to all the amazing people who made this show possible. Joel Burgos was our amazing multimedia engineer and producer made us sound great every single episode. Jan Carlisle was our executive producer and helped me recruit a fabulous roster of guests. And Jan kept me in line, which is harder than you would think. Alex Card wrote all of the great copy that you read on Apple, Google, and Spotify, so you'd know what you're going to listen to before you download it. Pam Steffen and Graeme Burke did the amazing graphic design of our podcast, our webpage, and all the promotions that you saw on social media. Speaking of social media, I wanna thank Dani Johns, who handled all the social media promotion associated with this podcast so that you'd know when a new episode dropped and where to find it. And finally, thanks to Todd Bellemare and Brittany Morin-Mezzadri, who helped develop the initial idea for this podcast and joined as co-hosts when they could fit it in to their crazy busy work schedules. Finally, I wanna thank you, the listener, for taking the time to join us. There are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, so thank you for choosing to listen to our little show. Once I land on my next company, I plan to start a new podcast. So stay tuned for more details. But for now, I'll close with one last, until next time. So until next time, take care. Please stay healthy. And remember that while healthcare is complex, it's also really important and it's all of our responsibility to make it better.