Dr. Allison Mathews exemplifies the term “Superwoman” and her go-getter spirit shines brightly. As a public health professional for nearly 10 years, Mathews has excelled in areas of HIV cure research and community engagement. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, this Howard University and UNC-Chapel Hill Alum is the Founder of the 2BeatHIV project and recently launched Community Expert Solutions, LLC, a business promoting digital case management with products such as Digital LinCS to connect people living with HIV/AIDS to wrap-around services. Still, the road to superwoman success was not paved in gold. It took hard work, dedication, and supportive peers to close the deal for this budding entrepreneur. Join the movement by donating at CommunityExpertSolutions.com!
Who is Dr. Allison Mathews and what is your superpower?
As a person, everything I do is informed by who I am and how I was raised. I’m from Dallas, Texas and my family is from Louisiana. We come from a long line of educators, sharecroppers, and musicians so my grandmothers were both educators with graduate degrees in a time when Black women were not even graduating from high school. I come from this legacy of strong Black women who pushed the importance of education and creativity. I got into photography at the age of 15 and my uncle lets me borrow my first camera. I won poetry awards and was published. Still, I wanted to learn how to bridge the gap between art and social justice so I found research was a great way to do that. My superpower is empathy. I feel I identify with people’s issues and that is how I am able to help them.
Your passion for the community is inspiring, what sparked the flame for entrepreneurship?
Community Expert Solutions, LLC is a consulting company I stared in 2017 and we use crowdsourcing to get the community involved on how to solve their own health problems. Some examples you may have seen of crowdsourcing are Wikipedia and Kickstarter. We are interested in getting people’s ideas on how to solve problems in their community. We are working to develop the platform Digital LinCS from the feedback we’ve received from the community. We are not just focusing on you going to the doctor but how can people access free or reduced medication, transportation, housing, and other wrap-around services that people need to make their whole lives better. Digital LinCS automates that process by having them complete a survey so we can complete those applications on their behalf.
What was your inspiration for creating Community Expert Solutions, LLC?
The big inspiration started in Fall 2016, a young man reached out to you, Kimberly Knight, via social media who was seeking support and he was a Veteran living with HIV for 2 years with no medication. He did not know how to navigate the healthcare system. He did not know who to talk to, how to complete the medication forms, no transportation, and it was such a huge burden for him to get to the services he was eligible for. There needs to be an easier and better way for this to be done.
What is 2BeatHIV?
It is a research project focused on HIV cure research that I started at UNC-Chapel Hill and the project uses crowdsourcing contests to get ideas from the public to solve different issues related to HIV. We wanted to engage people in critical discussions about clinical trials. We’ve used social media, sponsorships, celebrity endorsements, and community partnerships to discuss the myths around HIV cure research. It’s become a global conversation with teams in China and South Africa about how to do similar contests, I did a TED Talk in 2016 focused on using crowdsourcing so their voices are heard, and they are at the decision-making table.
What are your beauty must-haves or fashion go-to?
I like to combine vintage items with high-end clothing. I’ve been inspired by one of my best friends and she said she always has to have a staple piece. So mine is my jewelry and scarves. I found designer @Nashona_ from Tanzania on Instagram who has her own store in Goldsboro, NC and the clothing is made by women in Tanzania so they can provide for their families. My favorite makeup is the Chanel foundation. It stays all day, goes on very light on my skin, and I love the way it feels on my skin.
Photo Credit: AfroCurl Photography
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