Cofounder and COO, Better Life Partners
We are reaching an underserved population that has been failed by the health system.
BY ALINA DIZIK
When Steve Kelly T’18 met Tuck adjunct professor Adam Groff D’99, an MD, he quickly realized they saw eye-to-eye on some of the country’s most pressing issues, including the opioid crisis. Talking to Groff helped Kelly, whose family has been impacted by the epidemic, to understand how he could make an impact.
He and I sort of met through class, and we hit it off, Kelly recalls.
I was the nerdy one who stayed late after class.
Months later, the persistence paid off.
As cofounders of Boston-based Better Life Partners, Groff and Kelly are focused on providing same-day treatment for opioid use disorder by tapping into a network of community organizations. The teams work to administer services in church basements, homeless shelters, and other areas where this type of care is needed yet traditionally unavailable.
By staffing doctors and other health-care professionals in nontraditional environments, it helps patients avoid the stigma and the additional hurdles of visiting a medical office.
We go to where the people are, says Kelly who serves as the chief operating officer for the community health startup.
We are reaching a population that either can’t get to a clinic or is stigmatized as soon as they walk inside the door.
The strategy is working.
Internal tracking shows that more than 70 percent of Better Life’s patients continue therapy, including medication, which is more than double the national average. The company launched in 2018 and now provides services in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine—all states that have had a huge uptick in demand since the pandemic, when opioid overdoses soared. The offering targets Medicaid recipients and has had to adapt to new rules in telehealth.
We are reaching an underserved population that has been failed by the health system, says Kelly who attributes his success to his 10-year tour as a U.S. Navy officer, where he specialized in global logistics and operations.
Kelly, who initially launched the company in Hanover, says being part of Tuck’s entrepreneurial ecosystem also made it easier to succeed.
We benefited from the tight knit community among classmates when it came to raising money—it’s great to be able to have those conversations, he says. Liam Donohue T’95 cofounder of .406 Ventures is an investor and serves on the company’s board.
Next up, Better Life Partners is focusing on the underlying issues that sometimes come before substance abuse and addiction by introducing more mental health offerings and a Responsive Care program to treat various health conditions. Many of the company’s patients do not have a primary care physician and go without access to basic health services.
We’ve started to go beyond substance use care, says Kelly.
We are now treating co-occurring mental health disorders and underlying depression and anxiety, and adverse childhood experiences and trauma.
This story originally appeared in print in the winter 2023 issue of Tuck Today magazine. Read the full article “Meet the Next Generation of Tuck Founders.”
Bridging the Generational Divide: Meet Kinsome Cofounder Eben Pingree T’13
With his latest venture, Kinsome, cofounder Eben Pingree T’13 is helping deepen bonds between grandparents and their grandkids through an AI-powered social journaling app.Read More
Driving Innovation in Health Care: Meet Jeff Woods T’05
Health care in the U.S. is a $4 trillion industry. Jeff Woods D’97, GR’98, MED’98, T’05 believes private sector innovation will make it more efficient and effective.Read More
Less Waste, Longer Use: Meet Nike’s Peggy Reid T’98
Through profitable reuse and recycling programs like Nike Grind, Circular Economy Director Peggy Reid T’98 is helping eliminate waste and creating a longer life for Nike’s products.Read More
Closing the Financing Gap for Local Businesses: Meet Honeycomb Cofounder George Cook T’17
Honeycomb Credit works specifically with small businesses and allows consumers, nonprofits, and other organizations to loan small amounts of cash to a particular venture.Read More
The Uber for Customer Support: Meet Chatdesk Cofounder Andrew Olaleye T’13
Contacting customer service feels like a chore to most consumers. But Chatdesk cofounder Andrew Olaleye T’13 says the exchange doesn’t need to feel dreadful.Read More
Making the Most of Time at the Laundromat: Meet Courtney Bragg T’18
For Courtney Bragg T’18, founder of Fabric Health, the key to helping the millions of low-income people across the country started in an unlikely place—the laundromat.Read More
Building Solutions for the Childcare Crisis: Meet Shefali Shah T’09
Upfront cofounder Shefali Shah T’09 has long wanted to be a part of the solution for one of the country’s most pressing problems: increasing high-quality affordable childcare for all.Read More
Meet Stemless Cofounder Koushi Sunder T’13
With Stemless, entrepreneur Koushi Sunder T’13 is offering solutions for the emerging cannabis industry.Read More
Sweet Success: Meet Entrepreneur Sarah Bell T’14
A conversation with Sarah Bell T’14, cofounder of Spring & Mulberry, a plant-based, naturally-sweetened chocolate brand.Read More
Building a Better Burrito: Meet Red’s Founder Mike Adair T’09
Mike Adair T’09, CEO of Red’s All Natural, credits his Tuck experience with helping him launch a leading brand in natural frozen foods.Read More
Walk of Faith: Meet Grain Management Founder David Grain T’89
“If you are pushing hard and facing an unusual amount of resistance, it’s probably not ‘go time’ yet,” says David J. Grain T’89, founder and CEO of Grain Management, LLC.Read More
Biochemistry and business are an optimal blend for founder and former CEO of High West Distillery David Perkins T’90.Read More
How to Be a Successful Operations Leader
To succeed in operations, says ZOE COO Nicole Xu T’11, you need the short-term vision to run the business day-to-day, but you also need to be able to think three to five years ahead to build for the future.Read More
Why We Need More Women Entrepreneurs—And Investors
A conversation with venture capitalist Elizabeth Davis T’20, an investor with the Anthemis Group’s Female Innovators Lab.Read More
Meet Blair Crichton T’18, co-founder of Karana, a new whole-plant based meat company launched in Singapore.Read More
As VP of interventional pain at Medtronic, mission-driven leader Anu Codaty T’04 is helping to alleviate patients’ pain, restore health, and extend human life.Read More
Julie Skaff’s health care career has provided her the opportunity to make meaningful change, and fostered a deep appreciation for the type of wise leadership the industry needs.Read More
Phong Nguyen made the leap to health care with Accolade, a provider of personalized health and benefits solutions to employees and their familiesRead More
After Tuck, Daych worked as “a generalist in the buyout world,” before making the conscious decision to focus on health care during a time when the industry was becoming dramatically more complex.Read More
E. Selemon Asfaw
E. Selemon Asfaw’s interest in health care came later, awakened during a summer internship at Goldman Sachs and sharpened the next year in a Tuck elective.Read More
Enoch Kariuki’s blend of scientific knowledge and business training is suited to the current moment in biotech, where breakthroughs in the understanding of the human genome and technologies have opened a world of new opportunity.Read More
France began his career at McKinsey as a health care consultant, where his exposure to urgent care centers in Portland, Oregon called to mind a Tuck lecture entitled “Is Your Industry Ready for a Rollup?”Read More
Simplifying the Search for Therapy: Meet Jonathan TranPham T’10
Jonathan TranPham T’10, founder & CEO of reflect, wants to improve lives by making it easier to access quality mental health resources.Read More
Meet Allobee Chief Strategy Officer Anne Forsyth English T’08
Allobee is connecting business owners nationwide to an underutilized workforce of experienced, professional women—a mission that deeply resonates with Chief Strategy Officer Anne Forsyth English T’08.
Laura Ward T’89 Is Tackling the Mental Health Stigma
Armed with an MBA and an MPH, Laura Ward T’89 is building a more informed health care model for individuals with histories of trauma and abuse.Read More
Meet Military Veteran and Fitfighter CEO Sarah Apgar T’11
A commitment to public service is a current that runs through T’11 Sarah Apgar’s career and education.Read More
The Humble Leader
In 2015, Tuck alumna Aisha Barry decided to change the course of her career to help other people who felt immobilized by the health care system and a disease diagnosis.Read More
At Wayfair, Tuck alumna Laura Scott completely transformed the company’s operations. Now she’s dipping her toes into the startup world with Takeoff Tech.Read More
With Everly, Juliet Horton T’14 is changing how couples plan their weddingRead More
How to Make a Successful Startup Pitch
In her seven years as a venture partner at LaunchCapital in Cambridge, Mass., Heather Onstott T’07 has heard about 1,000 pitches from startups.Read More
Susan Hunt Stevens
In 2006 Susan Hunt Stevens T'98 started a blog as a "a guide to going green without going berserk." Years later the idea evolved into WeSpire, a platform that uses technology and social media to promote sustainable living.Read More
CEO of Lixil Corporation Kinya Seto T'96 is leveraging his entrepreneurial smarts to tackle the global sanitation crisis.Read More
With PK Coffee in Stowe, Vermont, Katrina Veerman T’01 turned a passion into a livelihood.Read More
Before you know what she is, you first need to know what Betsabeh Hermann T’13 is not: She is not an astronaut. Or at least, not yet anyway.Read More
In pioneering new health-care models emphasizing preventive care, John Sory T’93 overcame skepticism in the most direct way possible: He guaranteed better results.Read More
At Boston-based nonprofit Health Leads, Lea Tompsett T’06 is working with health care providers and social service agencies to ensure patients have access to basic necessities: food, transportation, housing.Read More
Duncan Reece T’08 was seven years into a career in finance when he realized he wanted to have a greater impact on the world around him. He found that connection in the health-care industry.Read More
James “Jim” Lindstrom
Jim Lindstrom T’01 has a career of both investment and senior operational roles—a unique perspective to lead a multinational corporation in today’s dynamic environment.Read More
Amrit Ray T’02 is working to improve compassionate access to investigational medicines and medicines for children—callings that combine his professional strengths with his personal convictions.Read More
Andrew Smith T'07 chose Tuck first because he was looking for a beautiful environment where he could spend time thinking about how to maximize his impact on big challenges in the world.Read More
Poshmark co-founder Tracy Sun T’05 turned her love of fashion and psychology into a leading mobile commerce app. Shopping will never be the same.Read More
Gibson “Gib” Biddle
NerdWallet's Gib Biddle T'91 came to Tuck as a marketer, but then realized he was more of a builder.Read More
Former investment banker Rohit Dugar T'07 is transforming his beer-brewing hobby into Hong Kong's first craft brewery—and using his Tuck experience to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship.Read More
Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck.Read More
For Jack O’Toole T’14, “building” and “contributing” are words to live by. As a Marine, he did both.Read More
Investor. Philanthropist. Entrepreneur. Roger McNamee T’82 is all of these and more in a career that has taken him to the top of the tech world.Read More
After graduating from Tuck, Barry Hume T'95 joined PepsiCo’s Boston-area operations as finance director—a position that quickly provided the opportunity for advancement, but with a difficult choice to make.Read More
What's for dinner? Pantry, a new food retailer founded by Dennis Lasko T’08, has the answer.Read More
T’87 Jeff Coleman’s quest for better nutrition led him to a new, whole-food fuel for athletes and a surprising second act.Read More
PureLiving China founder and CEO Louie Cheng T'03 is helping to improve indoor air quality in a country known for its pollution problems.Read More