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Episode 225 | Leveraging Grants for Sustainable Practice Expansion with Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo

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WITH Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo

  • Episode 225 | Leveraging Grants for Sustainable Practice Expansion with Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo 00:00


Have you ever thought about leveraging grant funding to make your practice’s services more accessible to all?

Join me as I sit down with Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo, a pediatrician and the owner of Melanin and Medicine. In this episode, Dr. Uwemedimo sheds light on the innovative concept of fiscal sponsorship and how it can help group practices secure funding through partnerships with nonprofits. During our chat we cover:

  • Dr. Uwemedimo’s background in global health and passion for making healthcare accessible.
  • Explanation of leveraging grants for for-profit healthcare practices.
  • Benefits of fiscal sponsorship for both for-profit practices and nonprofit sponsors.
  • How Melanin and Medicine helps healthcare practices secure funding through partnerships with nonprofits.
  • Steps involved in securing funding, including identifying target population, curating a database of nonprofits, and preparing proposals.
  • Stories of how other group practice owners successfully accessed grant funding.

Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo’s innovative approach to funding is a game-changer for for-profit practices looking to serve underserved communities. By leveraging grants and fostering partnerships with nonprofits, you can secure the funding you need to expand your services and make healthcare more accessible to all.

Thanks for listening! Like what you heard? Give us 5 stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra support? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners on our website Talk to you next time!


Resources mentioned in this episode:

Melanin and Medicine Links


Connect with Maureen Werrbach & The Group Practice Exchange:






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Maureen Werrbach

Maureen Werrbach (00:00:01) – You’re listening to the group Practice Exchange podcast where the business development resource for group practice owners, where we talk candidly about business ownership and leadership from practice building tips to live coaching to real talk episodes with other group practice owners where the resource you’ve been looking for to help you grow your group practice. I’m your host, group practice owner and entrepreneur Maureen Werrbach. 


This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes, TherapyNotes is an online practice management and billing software designed for mental health professionals. Therapy Notes says everything you need to manage patient records, schedule appointments, create rich documentation and bill insurance right at your fingertips. They offer free and unlimited live support seven days a week. Their streamlined software is accessible wherever and whenever you need it. To get two free months, go to 


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Maureen Werrbach (00:01:20) Hey everyone, Welcome to another episode of the Group Practice Exchange Podcast. Today I have Dr. Omolara Wema demo on with me and we’re going to be talking about leveraging grants for a sustainable practice expansion. She is the owner of Melanin and Medicine and she also has a podcast called Funding Your Health Care Vision. And I’m super excited to have her on because she’s got a wealth of knowledge that goes far beyond anything I know about, especially when it comes to leveraging grants and how to get that. So thank you so much, Dr. Omolara, for coming on. How are you?


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:02:07) – I’m good. Thank you so much. I mentioned I’m a fan, so I’m really excited to be here.


Maureen Werrbach (00:02:12) – Ditto, Ditto. So I love that we were able to get you on because you have an area of expertise that I know nothing about and I feel like my audience is going to really get a ton of information that they just never have gotten on my podcast.


Maureen Werrbach (00:02:29) – So thank you.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:02:30) – You’re welcome. I’m excited.


Maureen Werrbach (00:02:32) – So for those who don’t know, you, tell us just a little bit about you and also why the leveraging of grants in the health care industry is something that you are an expert on?


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:02:44) – Yeah, So I am a pediatrician by training a primary care physician, and my work and my background comes from a global health standpoint. So actually the first decade of my career was outside of the US and in that I developed this love of just innovating and not being happy with how things usually look and thinking about particularly how to make sure that health care services not did not just run, but they were actually accessible, usable, available for all people, and particularly working in low income countries. That was the the issue for us when I moved back to the US and really stayed here, I was noticing that I was seeing the same issues in low income communities, which is the focus of my work as a health care practitioner, to think about how do we address social and health inequities? And I came up with many ideas.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:03:40) – And then the hospital I worked with a lot of times would say, That’s nice. And I’m sure many of the conditions can relate to having a great idea and realizing that it was not going to be funded. And so ultimately, I’m a persistent person and I became an academic, of course, doing research program implementation as an MPH trained physician. So I ended up writing grants a lot to move health equity programs forward. And these insane ideas I run a practice called Strong Children’s Wellness, which now is opening. It’s going to be opening its third location in the fall. And the impetus of that was actually before I ran that practice was when I was inside of my institution and wanting to figure out a way to bring social care like food, housing, mental health services into clinical settings. And ultimately I was able to do that and I was able to learn how to position your work, specifically health care services, in a way that it could partner with nonprofits and get access to grant funds. I will also say that the majority of our work, even though we do grants, is actually contracts.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:04:50) – So a lot of times it’s working with a nonprofit that might be serving the same target population. We identified there’s a need for health, education, health services, training and health, and those organizations will actually go to their philanthropy funders and say, this is the new people that we want to bring on the block. And as the for profit, you’re able to get a contract that allows for you to be able to deliver those services in a profitable way for the communities that we care about.


Maureen Werrbach (00:05:19) – So that for anyone listening, they’re probably like, What the hell? Because what we know most of us is that the way that you can get grants is you have to be a nonprofit. And although excitingly, I see a lot of mental health care practices trying their bit adds opening a nonprofit arm of their group practice, most practices are for profit. And so talk a little bit about I know you just briefly mentioned it, but for those that are going to realize that this was an option, what does this look like if you can like break it down into full terms for us?


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:05:55) – So let me share.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:05:56) – There’s a concept called fiscal sponsorship that exists within the nonprofit community. Many people are familiar, if they. Started a little nonprofit or they haven’t. It’s in progress, but they want to be able to get access to funds they will leverage and find a fiscal sponsor, a larger, more established nonprofit who can now take funds, potentially also lend credibility so that they have access to certain grants and that a lot of people have thought is only available for nonprofits. Yeah, actually, fiscal sponsorship is available. There’s six different types, but it’s available for LLCs and for profits as well. Any any of that who have the social entrepreneurship mission, right. Of serving under-resourced communities. But of course, due to the guidelines, don’t have access to grant dollars. And so what that looks like is actually leveraging, let’s say you have a service that you want to provide, let’s say outsourcing clinical services. Let’s say you want to provide mental health services for a homeless nonprofit, right? Then what would happen is instead of having to figure out, okay, how are we going to fund the staff for this, actually what will happen is that our team puts together a proposal or a scope of work of what you would do, and then you can present that to the larger nonprofit and they use that to go to their funders or even contract you immediately and then send their development office like get more fun.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:07:24) – So that’s the big entity of how we are able to leverage and get grant dollars. So you’re not just bootstrapping to try and bring staff into your organization.


Maureen Werrbach (00:07:34) – So is the benefit for those that are nonprofits that are fiscal sponsors is the benefit that if for profit group practice, let’s say, whose mission is to serve those that maybe can’t afford. So like example for the unhoused, would the benefit for the nonprofits be in sponsoring you? Is that you potentially or the group practice has already be like a functioning business with people that can provide the service and so that help the need for the nonprofit to do that upfront work is that.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:08:13) – Yeah, it’s a great question. What is the value add for the fiscal sponsor? So a few things. One is availability of health services for their clientele. A lot of organizations are utilizing their staff right now to help coordinate referrals, all of these kind of things. And the staff aren’t really supposed to be doing that. They’re really supposed to be working on the initiative. So it helps to streamline that, especially maybe organizations, of course, that are serving homeless unhoused populations.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:08:42) – A lot of them have staff that are supposed to be serving those populations, but also now have to figure out how to get them access to all of these things. So, one, it helps save them energy and productivity for their staff. The other piece as well that’s really interesting is it also makes them competitive for different larger opportunities that they haven’t had access to. So now not only are they someone who provides maybe housing, but they also provide health services as well, which opens up the gates for philanthropy. And then the last big thing is capacity building. We mentioned to our clientele when we help them develop their proposals is that outsourcing clinical services is literally the tip of the iceberg, that they’re all of these other pieces, whether it be educating the clients of the organization, like providing support around mental health for their clientele, training the staff of organizations, or even providing strategic leadership consultation for the leadership to maybe they want to build out more mental health services. So there are different layers to the type of contracting and proposals that we help our health service practices deliver to these organizations.


Maureen Werrbach (00:09:53) – That’s really cool. So you’re saying your business helps businesses, let’s say like mine, who might want to get a grant through a sponsorship? You help support them in figuring out what type of grants are available, applying for them and that kind of thing.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:10:08) – So what we do is we do a few things. One, we will start with looking at your practice, identifying who are the people that you want to serve that you haven’t been able to serve, whether that be a cost barrier. And then also the other piece is profitability. Some of the practices come to us because they have been serving certain populations, but it’s break even now and they’re not even sure how they can hire. They don’t have that bandwidth. And so having this new revenue stream allows for them to be able to grow into that. What we do is we go from that which is like the intake to innovation. So we start to think about, okay, what is it that you like to do with? What is it, Who is it that you want to serve? And then helping them put together a contract offer.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:10:52) – Sweet So the next eye is like we introduced them and find we actually curate in our databases who are the nonprofits in their locality who match that service offering and. And, you know, of course, the right match. So they’re not offering that service, but they have the same target population. We give them all of the assets so that they now know how to do a discovery call, interact with them, pull out the information they need for us to help them create a proposal. And then, of course, we prepare them on how to present that proposal and then they get their money. But I think the other piece, the part of this that’s really interesting is the fact that as we take them through this process, we are building not only the things for them, but also helping them learn the skills and then for some larger practices who are like, I have absolutely no time, we absorb and become like their, you know, growth partner and doing the discovery calls, presenting the proposals and doing all of it for them.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:11:50) – Does that make sense that hopefully.


Maureen Werrbach (00:11:52) – One of the things that I feel like is probably a common thought about grant proposals is that it takes a long time and it’s a lot of paperwork. What are some of the ways that you support that? What are tools or things that you find that are helpful in minimizing kind of the complex pieces of it?


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:12:15) – I totally understand that. So just to be clear, because this is always been kind of the objection around it. And I think one of the things that’s really important is that we’re facilitating partnerships and those partnerships might need grant funding and they might just already the nonprofit might already have the budget to bring you on, right? And so the thing about it is none of our clientele we write grants for or we make them write grants. The goal is to source the opportunity and notice that this opportunity can’t actually be executed unless you as like a mental health practitioner or a primary care practitioner was partnering with that organization. So it might be increasing access to mental health services.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:12:59) – Well, that organization does not have any of that. So what we do is we help to source them and give that to our clientele so they can present it along with their proposal to say, just in case this is not something that is in your budget, we have this. And with that proposal, their grant team can actually write the grant. And now because they have your proposal, they can put that together quickly.


Maureen Werrbach (00:13:25) – So for those who are listening who maybe have been thinking about this, but like it feels like this just piece of information that is just not in their wheelhouse of understanding. Do you have any examples of of mental health care practices, who you’ve supported that have been successful in like, what does that look like? What are they doing? How are they working in that fiscal sort of sponsorship?


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:13:51) – Yeah. So one of our a great LLCs that I was working with in Rochester, Khadija Tillman, and she is from Sankofa Family Counseling. One of the amazing things about her is that she’s the only black woman left to practice in that region.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:14:08) – And Rochester, New York, in terms of mental health. So it was really exciting to work with her. And what we did was she we were able to one source grants and then number two, we were able to identify she wanted to do more youth group programming. So we were able to identify organizations that had youth that really were high risk, needed mental health support and able to do the introductions, make the connections and provide her with that list. And then in addition, as she found these grants, we would help put together what the proposal would look like and help her so that she could present it. About three months later, she got one grant, another contract, and then because of the ecosystem we created through the partnerships, she is now 200 K more in revenue from the six months of working with her in addition to the grant and contract, just because she could actually reduce her marketing through our process as well. Yeah. So it’s a really great model of how to do that and how quickly it can happen.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:15:14) – As long as you decide what the niche population is that you want to focus on. That has been untapped by your practice already.


Maureen Werrbach (00:15:21) – Yeah, I have thought for a long time just within my own group practice because anti-oppression work is such a strong value of ours. We’re always looking at ways that we can increase accessibility while also being able to afford to hire clinicians who can do that work. And I think this is such a great, probably untapped resource that our industry just doesn’t know a lot about. And so I appreciate you sort of giving us a glimpse into that. And I know before we end, I want you to share how people can reach out to you if they’re looking to get support on the work that you do and being able to connect with. These nonprofits that have that ability. But I wanted to just end with what is like a glimpse into what the future of people who are interested in securing funding. What does that look like in terms of how long it takes? What trends are you seeing that maybe are places that mental health practitioners should be looking into as long as it obviously aligns with their vision and their mission? How can people stay sort of ahead of the curve while thinking about securing either grants or contracts with these nonprofits?


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:16:35) – I love this question, Maureen.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:16:36) – So a few things. One, first and foremost, understanding that there are in your locality. I would say there are a number of organizations that are very, you know, large, like the nonprofit organizations that we source our, you know, 25, $30 million, $10 million organization. So a lot of people equate nonprofit with like no money. No, they’re able to contract you. But one of the things that I think is really important is social service agencies. If you’re thinking about agencies that are providing unmet basic needs, there’s usually that intersection of mental health issues that are unmet. And so those are a great place to potentially start. The other thing is that a lot of primary care practice owners aren’t familiar with the collaborative care incentives. And so a lot of times they can get additional funding that they can capitated funding that they can share with the mental health practice. If the mental health practice brings their staff into that organization. And so there are really contracts to be had there. That’s a really important thing.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:17:45) – So I would say starting with those two types of organizations. And then the last thing that I would say is really assessing what is the mission and vision of your practice, because many people are running practices and it’s profitable. But there’s a moral tension a lot of times where they’re like, I’m doing this, but the people I really want to serve, they can’t access it. And so that I think, is the place where I feel like there is. Those are my people, right? I do primary care practice owners and mental health practice owners. I will say right now, for some reason I have a lot more mental health practice owners as clients. But I think if you’re feeling that the thought process is this really is an avenue for you, and also just remembering that as a practice, remembering it can move quite far beyond patient care. I like to say we move people from patients to populations.


Maureen Werrbach (00:18:44) – Yeah, and I think that’s a great well, this could be a whole nother episode. And so we’re kind of dangling another whole idea, which is like expanding your thought process as a business owner from beyond a client coming in for therapy.


Maureen Werrbach (00:18:58) – But I like to look at like, how can we even start to be more proactive and like getting to people before they’re coming to seek out those services, whether it’s through psychoeducation or other things. And so there’s so many opportunities it looks like, to support your communities potentially even outside of just one on one counseling. I really appreciate you coming on and kind of throwing some of these nuggets out there to get my audience thinking, if anyone is interested, how can they reach out to you or can they find you to learn more?


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:19:28) – Yeah. So the two places that I hang out in different ways are LinkedIn and Instagram. I will say we have one main place where all of our links are, which is at Bitly, Bitly, forward slash melanin and medicine. There you’ll find links to our master classes that we have that podcast as well as if you just want to book a discovery call and insert some information about your practice and get our feedback on if we can help you.


Maureen Werrbach (00:19:55) – So I really appreciate you coming on and just thank you so much.


Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo (00:20:00) – Thank you.


Maureen Werrbach (00:20:03) – Thanks for listening to the group Practice Exchange podcast, like what you heard, give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra support? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into. Visit See you next week.

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.


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Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:


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