Health Tech: Alexis Commodore On How BirthX’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact In Our Overall Wellness

An Interview With Dave Philistin

Dave Philistin, CEO of Candor
Authority Magazine
12 min readAug 16, 2021


Don’t assume — Do not make assumptions about what someone might need or not need. Ask them. If you yourself are not experiencing the problem, ask your community how you can help and don’t solve the problem for them, help facilitate the change.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexis Commodore.

From a very young age, Alexis has always been drawn to healing and compassionate professions. She first decided to become a nurse at the age of 16 as a patient at Boston Children’s Hospital. Alexis graduated nursing school from Drexel University and has been working as a Pediatric Emergency Nurse for the last 6 years.

Alexis has been combining her passion for community work and international travel since high school. In 2007 and 2008, Alexis volunteered with Amigos de las Americas facilitating sustainable community projects in Guanajuato, Mexico and San Isidro, Costa Rica. In 2013, while Alexis was still in nursing school she volunteered for 3 months in El Hospital de Niños in San Jose, Costa Rica.

In May 2017, Alexis was introduced to the role of Doula by a coworker. The following weekend she took a DONA Birth Doula training at Harvard. Alexis quickly became enamored by the physiology and spirituality of the birth experience. Inspired to be a part of the birth worker community, Alexis became part of an organization called Wombs of the World. Through Wombs of the World, Alexis was able to volunteer as a Doula in Tanzania and Ecuador. In Tanzania, Alexis got to observe maternal health care in a rural setting and provide support in the birth room. In Ecuador, Alexis was able to shadow indigenous midwives while they supported the postpartum needs of women in their community. Alexis is proud to be part of an organization that values sustainability, facilitation and decolonization as a means to reproductive justice globally.

Over the last few years, Alexis has continued to educate herself about the problems we are facing in Maternity care in the United States. In Fall of 2019, Alexis began investigating how tech could help improve this area of healthcare. After a couple of challenges and pivots, Alexis now runs a Femtech company called BirthX. Alexis is also a Full Spectrum Birth Worker and Herbalist and she entered this world looking to serve her community. She is excited to support people in a new capacity and loves to teach others about childbirth and maternal and child health. She also supports and teaches self advocacy and bodily autonomy while navigating the health care system.

When Alexis is not attending births or working on BirthX, she can be found reading books, attending to her plants, taking pictures, and making medicine. One day Alexis aspires to be a midwife but she is currently enjoying her journey getting there.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I was born in Boston to a white Latina mother and a Black father, both of whom were well educated attorneys from humble beginnings. My parents separated when I was just a year and half and later divorced but have always been amicable with each other. Education is deeply valued in my family. In fourth grade, I came home from school complaining I wasn’t feeling challenged and before the end of the year, my mother and I had moved to a white affluent town with one of the best public schools in the state. In this community, I grew up internalizing a lot of anti-blackness and self loathing due to my lack of exposure to other black people in my daily life. I began processing my racial and sexual trauma in my mid-twenties. I began healing and educating myself on what systems and behaviors contributed to the occurrence of these traumas. During this time I realized I couldn’t stay a bystander. I now prioritize my social activism as both a career and a means to my own fulfillment.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I’d say as an emergency room nurse I have a lot of stories of unconscious bias and anti-blackness but the peak of witnessing these atrocities occurred when I worked at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York at the height of the pandemic. I am not going to go into specific details because there are so many stories and it’s hard to just mention one. I am open to talking in more detail but have to be mindful of HIPPA compliance.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My best friend didn’t become my best friend until the day my father died.

Josephine and I met as travel nurses working in the Pediatric Emergency Room at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. A friendship blossomed out of a team mentality working in a chaotic emergency room. However, nothing could have cemented our friend more than the way she supported me through my father’s death. The night I found out he died, I got a call from an ER doctor as I was walking home from a shift at Yale New Haven Hospital. It was a sudden loss and it hit me like a tsunami, destroying my life instantly. Not only did this woman pick up the phone at 2 am in the morning; she got on the next flight from California and met me in Boston. Josephine stayed with me that week. She helped plan the logistics of my dad’s memorial service and acted as a mediator between my mother and I. She continued to be on standby through an entire two years of emotional regression. In the creation of this business, she has constantly affirmed my capability and helped me combat imposter syndrome. I’m not sure how I would have survived the last two and a half years without her.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Everything happens for a reason.” I believe it was a survival tactic to perceive “everything happens for a reason”. When I was in college, I was in a toxic relationship that eventually became physically abusive. At its climax, my partner attempted to kill me. I reported the incident to the police, unaware that this would lead to litigation and a full jury trial in which the man that attempted to take my life was acquitted of all charges. I struggled with survivor’s grief particularly after the jury trial. The prosecutor had used old messages I had sent to this partner during arguments two years prior to defame my character and portray me as a liar and dramatic in front of the jury. This period of time was one of the lowest points in my life. I needed to believe I survived for a reason; that I was here to serve a bigger purpose. I understand now that the trauma that happens to us happens for us to grow and transform.

Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Determination — My determination is easily mistaken for stubbornness. I truly believe that it is the major contributing factor for my resilience and success. When the COVID lockdown started, I tabled working on my business and I wasn’t sure how I was going to afford a redesign of the app after our first and second beta versions were kind of a flop. When I went to work at Elmhurst I was working 72–84 hours a week for 10 weeks to save up enough money to eventually walk away from nursing. When I returned to Boston, I got a permanent job as a Staff Nurse at Boston Children’s to make it easier to refinance my mortgage. After 5 months, I refinanced my mortgage and cashed out an amount that would both allow me to quit my job, and relaunch the app. Almost a year later, I was able to develop a team, redesign the app and focus on my business with 100% of my attention.

Organization — People underestimate how important it is to be organized. Although I don’t feel that I have perfected my strategy, I found it easy to stay accountable to my commitments with lists, folders, and calendars. In the beginning, I found myself missing a lot of opportunities to learn and network purely because I would forget an event was occurring. Once I began using multiple calendars and alerts, I found myself growing and transforming into a leader and activist.

Intellectual curiosity — My intellectual curiosity is what helps me innovate. It is easy for me to become obsessed with a topic and hyper focus on it for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years. While learning the intricate details of a problem, I am able to break down the parts that contribute to that problem. From there, I then begin innovating how best to solve this problem, while taking into consideration many different perspectives. This is truly how I came up with the idea for my business. I’ve spent the last 3 years reading every book I could on topics such as women’s health, birth, and reproductive justice. I studied how our healthcare system functions and has successfully accomplished change in the past. This knowledge was paramount to the evolution of my company.

Which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

Despite spending the most per capita, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of the developed world. In addition, we have found that 4 out of 10 people perceive their birth as traumatic and 1 out of 5 people have postpartum ptsd. During COVID, people were forced to give birth alone without their support systems which has now led to the highest rate of postpartum anxiety and depression that we have ever seen. Our goal is to hold providers accountable for poor practices, make birthing people informed consumers, and shift the culture of maternity care to patient centered.

How do you think your technology can address this?

BirthX is a website and app that allows birthing people to read and write reviews on their childbirth experience with their maternal health care provider. It is an inherent part of birth to process and share your birth experience and we want to use this opportunity to help other birthing people become informed consumers and match with maternal health care providers who share the same philosophies on birth. Providers will be able to claim their profiles both to get feedback on the care they are providing and acquire new patients.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

At the peak of my young adulthood, I experienced a period of awakening. I realized that the world as I had perceived it was not actually so. I realized that white supremacy had largely impacted my life from childhood into my nursing career. I began to understand the ways I had contributed to ideas and beliefs surrounding white supremacy. I realized there were very few moments where it did not interject into my life, particularly in my career. I opened my eyes and realized that the unsettling patient interactions I was witnessing were actually forms of oppression and unconscious bias. I continued to self study anti-blackness within our healthcare system eventually focusing on the atrocities that black women face in childbirth. Already being enamored by the transition to motherhood, I became completely engulfed with learning as much on the subject as possible. It was painful understanding that as a black woman myself and a survivor of sexual violence in my young adulthood that my long calling to be a mother and birth my baby naturally could be jeopardized by a stranger and could cost me my life. The movement became personal when my dad died and a few things didn’t add up. There was a delay of care at the prehospital provider level and no malpractice lawyer deemed this type of litigation worthy of their time, energy, and resources. Despite not being able to help my father, I understood that if I could bring attention to what was happening in maternity care I might also be able to bring attention to the vast array of inequalities that happen to people of color across our entire medical system in many different ways and that it cost many people their lives each year.

How do you think this might change the world?

BirthX is going to bring awareness to obstetric violence and the importance of providing patient centered care. It will also bring to light that we have a massive shortage of maternal healthcare providers across the United States. BirthX will hopefully help decrease the rates of maternal mortality particularly for black women.

Can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I think it could potentially bring even more fear to childbirth even though it is designed to empower your birth experience. I also see the potential for the platform to become a space for provider bashing, which is why I designated that there be three different metrics to rate doctor’s performance: patient satisfaction, use of medical interventions, and make-up of patient population.

Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact?”

Be self-aware — Be aware of your own privileges, your role in your community, how you contribute or don’t contribute to the problems in your community, and your own biases.

Keep learning — Never stop learning and being curious to know more in your niche or problems that effect your community. The more you know and understand about how and why things work the way they do, the better able you will be able to innovate solutions or dismantle the systems in place and replace them with new systems.

Stay involved at the grassroots level — Never forget why you started this work. Stay involved with your community and continue to ask them what problems they experience.

Rest is a form of resistance — You cannot give from an empty cup. Social justice work can burn you out. Resting and self care are essential to seeing this work through.

Don’t assume — Do not make assumptions about what someone might need or not need. Ask them. If you yourself are not experiencing the problem, ask your community how you can help and don’t solve the problem for them, help facilitate the change.

If you could tell other you people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

The same way changing your life begins with making small changes, so does changing our world. Innovation, projects, businesses, or everyday habits geared towards social impact are how we create the world we would “like” to live in. It is also sustainable and has the opportunity to out live you and contribute to the legacy you leave behind.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why?

Paul Farmer. When I was in high school, a couple of the girls at my school organized a fashion show to raise money for an organization called Partners in Health. Partners in Health is a NGO that focuses on creating sustainable infrastructure changes to medical systems to help improve health outcomes of impacted areas. Their focus at the time was on a clinic in Africa, which was largely why I was asked to participate in the fashion show. I was this production’s version of a diversity hire. Unaware of this notion, I participated in the fashion show but came to learn more about the organization. When I graduated college the Ebola virus was ramped in Sierra Leone, I applied to Partners in Health hoping to become a volunteer to help serve this community. Unfortunately, I was denied due to the belief that it would be a disservice to me for this to be my first opportunity to work as a nurse. I continued on. Last year, in the middle of working 72 to 84 hours a week at one of the worst hit hospitals of the COVID pandemic, I took a class through Harvard’s online school on Global Health Delivery and it was largely taught and based on the workings of Partners in Health. I currently feel like I still have a lot to learn but I have always felt called to help improve Maternal and Child Health on a Global scale. It would mean a lot to have my work validated by anyone on the Partners in Health team because I believe they were one of the catalysts that propelled me into my life’s purpose.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Check out our website:


Find us on social media:

IG: @BirthXapp

Tiktok: @BirthXapp

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.



Dave Philistin, CEO of Candor
Authority Magazine

Dave Philistin Played Professional Football in the NFL for 3 years. Dave is currently the CEO of the cloud solutions provider Candor