Modality Founder Laura Vitale on the Paradigm Shift in Mental and Behavioral Healthcare

May 28, 2024

Laura Vitale grew up in a family of scientists and mathematicians, witnessing and experiencing broken institutions in legacy mental health, respecting the power of data and research, and then forging their own path as an artist. Modality's business strategy is infused with this knowledge, rebellion, and a recognition of the massive untapped power and opportunity in the paraprofessional workforce (community health workers, clergy, artists, etc.). Vitale's interdisciplinary approach to Modality (Techstars 2023) reflects their own life path and thorough commitment to multiple fields of knowledge and praxis.

Follow Modality here.

How is what you are building disrupting your industry?

Mental and behavioral healthcare is going through major paradigm shifts as we move toward value-based care, safely integrating AI, and changes in scope of practice and certifications at the local, state, and federal levels. Modality is accelerating these paradigm shifts by building evidence-based infrastructure, as well as AI and safety mechanisms to increase access to jobs in this rapidly growing paraprofessional workforce.

In simple words: Modality is solving the mental health workforce shortage by empowering communities to give care safely based on lived experience.

What has been your proudest moment or biggest triumph in your entrepreneurial journey?

  1. This was a very fleeting moment but probably my most proud — the look of delight on a customer's face when she opened the product and we had adjusted it to default to Spanish in response to her request.

  2. I'm also proud of our research partnerships. There are so many incredible researchers doing forward-thinking work for decades that has laid the foundation for these paradigm shifts, and I'm honored and grateful to be working alongside them.

  3. A recent hire shared with me how proud he is to work at Modality because of our mission, and also how this is the first place he's worked where he feels like he really knows the team as people and feels known himself.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs who are just starting their journey?

Build your community. Friendships with fellow founders are incredibly helpful for moral support and knowledge-sharing, as is mentorship from very experienced entrepreneurs.

Can you share any resources or organizations that have been particularly helpful to you as an entrepreneur?

Behavioral Health Tech is a startup-friendly conference and community for people in this field. Out in Tech and StartOut have been sources of LGBTQIA+ startup community.

How do you celebrate your achievements and milestones within your business?

This is a great question! We have a #celebrations channel in our workspace where we share appreciations of each other and achievements, and anything else that comes up that brings joy (Like spring! Our UX designer putting out a new album!). 

I keep a private list of three wins per day, to help me appreciate the smaller, more invisible wins (like team members mentoring each other and solving problems, getting grant budgets approved). 

Sometimes when we’re working together in person and we finish a super boring task, we give each other a high-five.