Michelle Garde/Photo John Jay College
Healthcare strategist Michelle Garde was selected as the Head of Value Analytics at Yuvo Health, a venture-backed healthcare tech start-up. In her new role, Grenadian-born Garde is making quality healthcare accessible to those in need working alongside a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) team who has experienced first-hand how medical representation can improve quality of life.
Adjusting to Life in the United States
Michelle was raised by her grandparents and extended family. At age ten, she left her close-knit community in Grenada and migrated to the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn. The stark difference in the environment, people’s mannerisms, and accents was something that Michelle had to adapt to, which she did.
The first-generation college student attended John Jay College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in legal studies. John Jay felt like home. It had a large Caribbean student population, and Michelle finally felt free to be her true self. The group would often have meaningful debates focusing on social, political, educational, and economic issues in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
“These debates framed our relationship with one another and helped us piece together our own narratives as Caribbean immigrants. Those are conversations and stories that still influence me to this day,” she said in an interview with her alma mater, John Jay College.
Bringing Quality Healthcare to Underserved Communities
So many BIPOC communities in the U.S. face disparities in medical care. They often do not have access to quality medical care because they are either uninsured or underinsured.
Michelle transitioned to public health because she believed that the health inequities faced by minorities were problems that needed solutions. She returned to school and got a master’s degree in public administration and health finance at NYU. After completing her master’s, Garde gained a deep understanding of what contributes to the type of access the average person has to healthcare by working at major healthcare organizations, including EmblemHealth, Affinity Health Plan, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.
Garde brings over 20 years of experience driving healthcare decisions through data analysis to Yuvo, which was founded on the need to help the very people Michelle wanted to. As the Head of Value Analytics, Michelle uses data to uncover concerns like how often a person sees a primary care physician and to identify innovative solutions – for example, developing an urgent care cooperative – for her various stakeholders at community healthcare centers. She works with these healthcare providers to help ensure they provide the best care possible through data on the communities they serve.
What's most rewarding about her role at Yuvo is that Michelle Garde is helping people who look like her get quality healthcare. When she reflects on her journey, one thing she advises young people is not to be so laser-focus on one career path that they are not open to new opportunities that may come their way.