Alice Zhang and Nisha Desai are two Harvard Business School alumni working hard to destigmatize and expand access to effective mental health care for the Asian American community by building Anise Health.
Nisha is co-founder and COO of Anise Health. Prior to Anise, Nisha was a Senior Product Manager at Humana, where she led the development of virtual care solutions. She also spent 5 years in healthcare financial services, where she was an investor focused on behavioral health, care delivery innovation, and payor/provider. Nisha has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Economics from UPenn.
“Like many other children of immigrants, I grew up in a traditional South Asian household where mental health was never talked about. My emotional personality was viewed as “weak-hearted”” and it wasn’t until college that I realized it was ok to not always be ok. Unfortunately, my school had a very broken mental health system and, like me, many of my classmates weren’t able to get the support they needed. There was a tragic loss of lives – 14 suicides – and I noticed many of them were people of color and Asian Americans, specifically. This rang alarm bells for me and left me asking: if the people of color in this country had better treatment options to help process our emotions properly, could the outcome be different? “
Alice Zhang is co-founder and CEO of Anise Health. Prior to Anise, Alice worked across various roles in healthcare including product development at an early-stage digital health startup, private equity investor, and management consultant. Alice holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in neuroscience from the University of British Columbia. Alice is also a certified health and wellbeing coach.
“As a 1.5-gen immigrant, I’ve experienced firsthand the feeling of not belonging, the pressure of demanding expectations, and the struggle of being caught between polar opposite cultures. But when I finally sought therapy to work through those challenges which were inextricably linked to my Asian values and immigrant upbringing, I ended up cycling through multiple therapists, each time feeling more defeated. I knew that if finding effective care was so hard even for someone like me who has a good understanding of mental health from having studied psychology and being trained as a wellbeing coach, it must be nearly impossible for many others out there who share my background.
About Anise Health
Anise Health is the first culturally-responsive digital mental health platform built by and for the Asian American community. Anise incorporates culture and intersectionality into clinician training and evidence-based treatments, which research shows to be 5x more effective than unadapted models of care. Anise offers holistic and personalized services including online therapy, coaching and self-guided resources to individuals, as well as tailored group services (i.e. psychoeducation webinars/ workshops) to Asian Employee Resource Groups to promote wellbeing.