June 17, 2024

Spora Health’s Momma’s Kit aims to cut Black maternal mortality rates

With the goal of reducing Black maternal mortality rates, design firm Leadoff Studio has worked with Spora Health to create the Momma’s Kit – a health monitoring system with a focus on attention-grabbing graphics and packaging.

The kit is the product of Spora Health, a subscription-based primary care provider for people of colour in the USA that aims to improve health outcomes and redress experiences of alienation that patients might have experienced in the country’s mainstream healthcare system.

The Momma’s Kit is designed to cut Black maternal mortality rates

With the Momma’s Kit, the company is targetting maternal mortality rates, which in the US are three times higher for Black women than for white women. But Spora Health found that huge inroads could be made if mothers monitored vital signs daily with a blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter.

As much as 80 per cent of the most common conditions that contribute to maternal mortality for Black people could be caught in this way, Spora Health’s research suggests.

In response, the company created a dedicated health monitoring system, which ultimately became the Momma’s Kit, and brought in New York-based Leadoff Studio to develop the design.

Photo of Spora Health's Momma's Kit unboxed showing the tin next to a oximeter, blood pressure cuff and instruction cards
The kit contains a pulse oximeter and a blood pressure cuff

The designers’ vision for the kit was one where the graphic design and packaging would create positive feelings and a memorable unboxing experience. At the same time, they needed the kit to be intuitive and easy to use.

Users of the Momma’s Kit need to keep up the monitoring routine for a total of six months – the three months of the third trimester and the three months after birth, sometimes called the fourth trimester.

Leadoff CEO and creative director Jordan Diatlo told Dezeen that the studio did extensive interviews with Black patients, doulas, doctors and physician assistants, focused on understanding the “underlying emotions” of this process while letting the subjects take the lead.

Flatlay photo of all the elements in Spora Health's Momma's Kit
The unboxing process is meant to trigger positive feelings

“I think empathy is one of the most critical tools a designer needs, and that has never been more apparent to me than on this project,” he said.

“The inherent biases that Black people go through when they are just trying to get healthcare is an experience and feeling that I think is borderline impossible to understand unless you’ve gone through it yourself,” he added.

“Some of the people on the Leadoff team have felt this bias firsthand, but especially for those of us on the project outside of the demographic, it was critical to be open and listen.”

Diatlo said that one of the most important insights came from speaking to new mothers from the fourth-trimester group, which reminded those on the team with kids of just how limited their time and mental energy were during this period.

“As a result, we developed a strategy of not communicating through text that needed to be read but rather making all information easily absorbable,” he said. “This meant large photography showing the products in use and important text expressed in bold colours with as few words as possible.”

“Even the directions for how to use the products were paired down to brief phrases, with as few steps as possible.”

Photo of an instruction card from the Momma's Kit with a full-page colour photo of a Black pregnant woman on the left and a close-up of a hand with a pulse oximeter place on the end of the index finger on the right
Correct use is demonstrated through photography

As the photos feature Black women, they also serve the dual purpose of creating a feeling of inclusion that is often missing from their experiences of healthcare, which Diatlo hopes will promote trust and adherence.

“Showing Black pregnant bodies throughout the kit was critical,” he said. “Because they don’t see themselves represented in media, it quickly shows to our intended audience that this is for them.”

The Momma’s Kit comes in a tall, lavender-coloured metal tin that Leadoff Studio says is designed to stand out in the home, so it will act as a “beacon” to remind users to test daily. At the end of the monitoring period, the tin can be reused or recycled in the curbside collection.

Photo of a hand scribbling in a notebook while in front of her a phone sat upright in a stand shows the face of a Black female doctor in a lab coat with a stethoscope around her neck. Medical gadgets also sit on the table beside the phone.
The kit includes a phone stand for telehealth appointments

The cuff and oximeter can be returned to Spora for refurbishing and reuse while all the other parts – including a phone stand for telehealth appointments – are paper-based and recyclable.

Leadoff Studio was founded in 2016 by Diatlo and his wife Jessica. Previous product designs from the practice include the packaging for a traditional miswak teeth-cleaning stick, which comes with an integrated twig cutter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *