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Mar 14, 2024

Member Spotlight: Bella Tukuafu Johnson

Kalo is on a mission to resolve the problem with existing clinical trials. We sat down with Bella Tukuafu Johnson, founder and CEO, to learn more about what she does and why she chooses to do it from The Shop SLC – read on to learn more.

Tell me more about your Kalo Research, what do you all do? We work with pharma companies to make medicine better through providing access to clinical trials to historically underrepresented populations in health research.  For example, Pacific Islanders have 3x the death rate from heart disease as the general white population, but we’ve also found that clopidogrel (a medication commonly prescribed to prevent strokes or heart attacks) works no better than a placebo for 75% of Pacific Islanders who take it.  Carbamazepine, a drug used to treat seizures and nerve pain is more likely to cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome which is a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes in Asian than in other racial groups.  It is super vital that we have adequate representation from ALL people and communities in the development of medicine because our bodies work and react differently to different compounds. Seeing those differences in the process of developing medicine (rather than realizing there are little to no options when it’s too late) is key to the changes we need to improve health for all our communities.

What is your favorite part about the work that you do?
I love our team, I love our study participants, and I love and am so grateful to be a part of progress and movement toward making changes in health disparities even through the tiny spot of influence that we have.

How has being a member of The Shop Workspace impacted your work and creativity?
As the founder and CEO of Kalo Clinical Research, it has been helpful to have a space to retreat to where I can hunker down and focus on what is necessary for my company to move forward outside of our busy clinic.  The beautiful art-filled common spaces, the incredible and accommodating staff, the convenient mail and package delivery, and secure 24/7 access (among other things) has all been so comfortable and beneficial for my work.

Do you have a memorable moment you could share with us from working at The Shop? 
I have held several meetings with other stakeholders in the company at The Shop, and each impression has been positive and complimentary about how nice it is to have a place outside of our clinical site to meet and discuss things.

What’s your favorite thing about the community at The Shop Workspace? 
While I haven’t been able to participate in it myself very much, I truly love the community engagement efforts and volunteer opportunities that are offered, as well as the small but large efforts toward acknowledging the little things (holidays, events, random shared food offerings, etc.).

Any advice for fellow members or entrepreneurs considering coworking spaces? 
As a busy entrepreneur, I have found it very valuable to come to The Shop and feel at home with all the amenities (and more!) that I would have otherwise not thought of at our own clinic for any of my business needs.  It has been more than worth the cost for me to maintain our space here.

It is safe to say that Bella Tukuafu Johnson is an absolute powerhouse, make sure to say hi next time you see her around The Shop SLC?

Ready to learn more about how to join our growing community? Book a tour and trial today.