Sunday, October 2, 2022

“HeartButts”- The NFT Collection to Create More Transparency and Accountability in Maternity Care

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As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about NFT women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexis Commodore

She is the founder of the NFT collection called HeartButts to raise money to continue our mission and lobby for a change in the legislation around the licensing of midwives.

Many thanks for doing this for us; please let our users know about yourself and about BirthX’s NFT Collection?

Hello, my name is Alexis Commodore. I am the founder of BirthX, an early-stage start-up developing a digital platform focused on creating more accountability and transparency in maternity care through a maternal healthcare provider review platform, an AI SMS-chatbot and free educational resources. In February, we launched a 10,000 piece NFT collection on the polygon blockchain called HeartButts.

The HeartButt Collection is a playoff our logo and a childhood doodle of mine. We are allocating 20% of the funds to lobbying and sponsorship of a bill to address much-needed change around the licensing of midwives. A third of the United States lacks access to perinatal care and the over restriction and regulation of midwives is rooted in a political history surrounding the monetization of birth instead of focusing on statistical outcomes. 

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path? 

I spent the last 7 years as a travel nurse and 3 years as a doula. During my time as a nurse, I witnessed the same systemic problems at over 10 hospitals.

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As I began educating myself on the history of our healthcare system, and how it functions and why, I realized I was unknowingly participating in a system that was harming some of my patients. At around the same time, my father passed away suddenly.

There were some questions about medical negligence and a delay of care on the behalf of the ambulance company in regards to his death. Despite my best efforts, the hospital never released his medical records and attorneys told me it wasn’t cost-effective to go after a state-owned ambulance company. After some time to process my grief, I decided to follow my father’s example and focus on creating change in an area I saw a problem. With the modest inheritance my father left me, I built BirthX. 

What messages do you want to give to society about BirthX’s NFT Collection for improving maternity care?

My hope when launching the HeartButt NFT collection was to build a community of people who shared our team’s passion and drive to improve maternity care and change the culture around birth.

Research has shown that up to 45% of pregnant people experience birth trauma. Obstetric violence plays a big role in patients feeling unsafe and unsupported in their birth experience. Teaching people about their options in birth, how to spot red and green flags for providers and self advocacy can help someone avoid the long lasting effects of birth trauma. 

What key highlights of BirthX’s NFT Collection make it unique from the other NFTs?

The HeartButt Collection is the only social impact NFT collection addressing sustainable change through strategic community planning, civic engagement and collective action. In addition the art itself is very unique and feels playful but slightly sensual. In some birth experiences, these elements also show up. Oxytocin, the hormone of sex, cuddling, and love, is responsible for causing the uterus to contract during labor so it doesn’t hurt to laugh, be held by your partner, or embrace being naked in the process. 

What do you think could be the future of NFTs? How useful can they be for everyone?

I think it’s still really early in the NFT space and there are still so many undiscovered utilities. Overall, the community is pure hearted and has great intentions. Although just like anything else, having discernment about certain projects or people can help keep you from getting scammed. I think we all still have a lot to learn about web3 and its potential especially when it comes to not repeating the same mistakes as web2. In many ways, the NFT community at the moment is a combination of elements from web2 and web3 so it will be interesting to see how the user experience improves as different tools and uses are developed. I strongly believe in the community’s ability to facilitate change but it’s not going to happen overnight. 

How can people make a profit through this NFT Collection?

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Launching an NFT collection should be looked at as a business. It requires planning and strategy. If your collection has a utility, the community will want to know how you plan to execute these goals in the form of a roadmap. Market research can help you figure out how best to price your collection and where your audience is and how to engage with them. Depending on whether you hired an artist or a team, you might have additional expenses to take into account, as well as, the projected expenses of executing your roadmap. 

The future of the digital world might be ruled by blockchain and cryptocurrency. Do you think it would be challenging for all age groups to gain knowledge about the same? How can we educate them?

There is currently a pretty big learning curve when it comes to learning about web3 but the more proactive you are about learning and making your own informed decision the better your experience will be. I think for those who are still on web1, getting to web3 might pose a large challenge but there are people who are willing to teach you what they know. Currently there is a big flux of effort within the community to educate outsiders and welcome them into web3. I think as the UX and UI of the space improves people will be less intimidated to begin learning.  

Do you think NFTs, which are open to virtual reality, could adversely impact our health due to increased screen time?

It’s hard to predict the future but I can’t imagine there will be no negative impact. Since getting a cell phone 16 or 17 years ago, there have been a lot of changes in the way I engage with my phone. I don’t think I could have anticipated the level of dependency I feel towards my phone today. However, having a cell phone has allowed me to access so much more information than I would have otherwise had the resources to access. In many ways, it’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like without it. My guess is that in another 20 years, we’ll talk about VR and AR in the same way. 

What are some upcoming programs you hope to launch this year?

We are really excited for this year. We are currently developing the third version of our maternal healthcare provider review platform as well as an AI chatbot which we are hoping to launch early summer. We will continue to make educational resources for pregnant and postpartum people including expanding to creating resources in Spanish. If the HeartButt Collection sells out, we will begin planning and advocating for policy change in collaboration with a couple of other organizations and the help of our community. 

Where do you see yourself in the next five years? 

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In the next 5 year, I see myself continuing to facilitate change in maternity care in communities outside of the United States that need assistance. Mistreatment in birth is a human rights violation and I very passionately believe that every birthing person deserves to feel safe and supported through their child’s birth. Pregnancy and labor are hard enough; your provider shouldn’t be making it harder. 

Who are your top 5 Women in NFT inspiration?

@AngelAllianceEth 

@TrailblazeTribe

@YesSheCanNFT

@WomenRiseNFT

@Gendora_Asia

Lastly, what do you think this world needs the most? 

The world needs to dismantle all systems of oppression. This vision may be a little utopic for some but the truth is even the people who benefit from these systems of oppression experience harm from these same systems without being aware. The difference is that they have bought into the propaganda that life as it is, is as good as it gets. 

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