Introducing #HumansOfJohego

When I started working on Johego full-time, I was living in West Lafayette, Indiana. Shortly thereafter, I decided to sign up for Indiana’s inexpensive Medicaid program, which was much more difficult than I imagined: I’ve graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and from Stanford University, and I needed an entire day of undistracted effort to successfully enroll. I can only imagine how much harder it would have been if I were a single, working parent without the benefits of my education and flexible schedule.

Since then, I’ve learned that it’s not just members of the general public who struggle to efficiently navigate the social safety net but also nurses, social workers, police officers, and other public service professionals. Such inefficiency can be frustrating to those in need and harmful those who serve them: a feeling of professional inefficacy is one of three primary dimensions of burnout, a widespread occurrence among nurses and social workers.

In order to better inform the public about how people navigate the social safety net, we are pleased to present #HumansOfJohego, a social media hashtag we will be using to help promote of a series of stories on that subject. Here is our first installment in that series from one of our supporters:



Photo: First Installment of #HumansOfJohego
First Installment of #HumansOfJohego

“I am a Social Worker in the Emergency Department of a very large hospital. Multiple times throughout the day I am asked to provide community resources to patients. The resource most commonly requested is shelter resources. The homeless population in St. Louis is large and there are limited shelters. I worked with an elderly man that is homeless last week. I provided him with a list of homeless shelters in the area from two different websites. It took him several hours to call all of the agencies on the two lists because some did not answer, some were no longer open, or said he would have to call back at another time. Ultimately the patient was not able to find shelter for the night. It would be beneficial for both people seeking resources and social service providers if there was a centralized place with real time data about resources in the community. In my experience most of the websites for resources that are utilized in community are out of date. One resource that I use daily is only updated one time a year, so there are often agencies that have closed or no longer provide services that remain listed until the book is updated. This can be disheartening to people seeking services.”



In the future, we will be posting these stories exclusively on social media, so we encourage you to follow us on any of the following platforms:

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If you or a friend, family member, or colleague have experienced challenges navigating the social safety net, we want to hear from you. You can visit the following link to learn more, including how to share your story:

#HumansOfJohego

Thank you for your interest and your support!

– Michael



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Holiday PSA: Put Down the Smartphone

What do you want to pay attention to
Image Credit: PhoneBreakup.com

Smartphone addiction is a severe and insidious public health challenge: the average smartphone user taps, swipes, and clicks their device 2,617 times each day during 76 separate sessions. In the short term, these sessions significantly reduce productivity: on average, it takes 25 minutes to return a task after an interruption. It can also reduce our emotional presence. As one author described her experience:

“I had recently had a baby and was feeding her in a darkened room as she cuddled on my lap. It was an intimate, tender moment — except for one detail. She was gazing at me … and I was on eBay, scrolling through listings for Victorian-era doorknobs.”

In the long term, problematic cell-phone use has been associated with negative cumulative outcomes, including “sleep disturbance, anxiety, stress, and, to a lesser extent, depression.”

Our collective addiction to our smartphones is not an entirely natural phenomenon but rather is very much a consequence of deliberate design decisions: for example, at my alma mater Stanford University, the Persuasive Technology Lab teaches “the psychology of behavior change, such as how clicker training for dogs, among other methods of conditioning, can inspire products for people. For example, rewarding someone with an instantaneous ‘like’ after they post a photo can reinforce the action, and potentially shift it from an occasional to a daily activity.”

average vs. heavy user phone usage per day
Image Credit: dscout.com

Johego, despite having developed a smartphone application for iOS and Android, is committed to helping combat cellphone addiction. Johego’s mission is to make connecting people in need with essential medical and social services as easy as finding showtimes for movies. Such connections will only occur when people notice and act upon such needs, which requires intellectual and emotional presence.

So, to close, here are a few simple things you can start doing during the holiday season to limit your smartphone usage:

  • Eliminate notifications for your most commonly used apps (on Android or iOS), especially social media.
  • Uninstall any app you do not strictly need (on Android or iOS), including those services you can access from your desktop or laptop computer — or from your smartphone Internet browser.
  • Place your phone away from you facedown when you are not using it, particularly when you are at work or in social settings.

In the meantime, we wish you safe and happy holidays!

– Michael

What do you want to pay attention to?
Image Credit: PhoneBreakup.com

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Introducing Johego Version 2.0

I am delighted to announce that Johego has released a major update to our smartphone application on iOS and Android, and that we are supporting a browser-based equivalent that can be accessed through a laptop or desktop computer! As with our previous releases, anyone may use our software for free and any verified social or medical service provider may be listed in our directory for free.

Johego Version 2.0 New Features

You may download Johego’s free smartphone application on iOS and Android here:

You may run Johego on a web browser (such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari) by clicking here:

Try Johego on your web browser

As of this writing, Johego is now available to around one million Missourians, in the counties outlined in bold black ink below:

Johego Geographic Coverage Map November 2018

If you know any social workers, police officers, nurses, teachers, pastors, or anyone else in our coverage area who may be in a position to connect people in need with social and medical services, I encourage you to pass this information along to them. The more people that have our technology literally at their fingertips, the harder it will be for people in need to slip through the cracks.

This release would not have been possible without the generous support of Missouri Foundation for Health as well as that of our donors, volunteers, and allies. I want to extend a special thank you to Krushna Kamtekar and Michael Goldman, who joined Johego in January and have been working on this update ever since. As a solo, non-technical founder, I placed a tremendous amount of trust in their ability to strengthen and streamline our technology from the ground up, and I have not been disappointed. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to build on their great work, expanding to new regions and helping more people more easily find the services they need.

— Michael Kehoe

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Johego Version 1.0: A Retrospective

Bill Gates observed that “we always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” I have been thinking a lot about that quote as Johego prepares to launch Version 2.0 of our software in the coming days, and I wanted to use this opportunity to share just how far we’ve come.

Two years ago, I had recently completed 16 online courses in data science and full-stack web development, and I was in the middle of Square One Boot Camp, an outstanding entrepreneurship training program based out of the Center for Emerging Technologies. A few months later, Johego secured a $4,732.26 contract with Families and Communities Together to develop, pilot, and release a smartphone application on iOS and Android to help social workers, nurses, and other public service professionals in Northeast Missouri more efficiently connect people in need with social and medical services, such as overnight shelter and addiction treatment.

The result was Johego Version 1.0, code-named Calm Dawn, which was launched in six counties around Hannibal, MO. In the 18 months since its launch, our software has been used thousands of times to help people find a wide variety of social and medical services:

Johego Version 1.0 by the Numbers

In the meantime, thanks to a ~$270,000 contract with Missouri Foundation for Health, Johego has been diligently preparing to launch Version 2.0 of our software in 18 additional counties across Northeast, Central, and Southwest Missouri, bringing our geographic coverage to the counties outlined in the map below:

Johego Geographic Coverage Map November 2018

If you are a social worker, nurse, police officer, or other public servant in one of the outlined counties, and if you would like to sign up for a free virtual or in-person training session for our new software, please send us a message using the contact form below:

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We are proud of our accomplishments over the past two years, and we are so excited to begin a new phase in our development. Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way.

— Michael

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Johego Joins Global Business Accelerator

I am absolutely thrilled to inform you that Johego was accepted into StartX, one of the top three business accelerators in the world!

2017 Accelerator Rankings
Image Credit: Seed Accelerator Rankings Project

The admission process for StartX is highly competitive, with only 8% of applications accepted. I will be joining StartX in Palo Alto, CA during their Summer 2018 cohort, receiving one-on-one mentorship from top Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs, customized educational programming, fundraising support, and more. In the meantime, our data engineer Krushna and our frontend developer Michael will continue their work in St. Louis developing version two of our software, which is scheduled to launch this summer in Northeast, Central, and Southwest Missouri.

StartX describes itself as “an educational non-profit that accelerates the development of Stanford’s top entrepreneurs through experiential education and collective intelligence.” I could not be more excited to participate.

– Michael

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Johego Wins Transportation Contract

Improving Transportation in Northeast Missouri
Photo Source: Wikipedia

I am pleased to announce that Johego has secured a contract to improve transportation systems in Northeast Missouri, in partnership with Missouri Foundation for Health, Health Literacy Media, The Mission Center, Families and Communities Together, and OATS Transportation. As part of this contract, Johego will:

  • Expand and refine our app to include additional transportation providers located in Northeast Missouri.
  • Integrate Uber and Lyft functionality with our app to enable users to request rides to service providers listed in our directory.
  • Complete a public information campaign through various social and community media for the aforementioned transportation features to be made available through our app.
  • Conduct a frequency analysis of one year of OATS ridership and service denial data to inform future federal and foundation grant applications for sustainable expansion of transportation service and ridership in Northeast Missouri.

During a series of community-based asset-mapping activities during late 2017 and early 2018, public service professionals from throughout Northeast Missouri identified transportation as a critical social determinant of health, affecting not only access to healthcare resources but also employment, social opportunities, and more, particularly for the poor and the elderly. We will keep you posted as this project progresses.

– Michael

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Johego Joins Regional Leadership Institute

Leadership Northeast Missouri

After a lengthy blog and social media hiatus, I am happy to report that I was one of 15 community leaders competitively selected for the inaugural class of Leadership Northeast Missouri, a regional leadership institute designed to help participants enhance their leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of the region. During several all-day learning and networking sessions, I will have the opportunity to connect with other local leaders and develop strategies to address various issues facing the region, including:

  • Rural Broadband
  • Healthcare Infrastructure
  • Transportation Systems
  • Workforce Development
  • Navigating Government Systems

I am particularly excited to see how Johego’s software can be modified to help address these issues. In the meantime, I look forward to sharing other significant updates as they occur.

– Michael

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Johego Wins $270,000 Contract

I am thrilled to inform you that Missouri Foundation for Health has awarded Johego $270,000 to expand our services throughout Northeastern, Central, and Southwestern Missouri.

This award represents a huge milestone in Johego’s development, and it occurs only nine months after securing our first customer in Hannibal, MO and only two months after winning the prestigious Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition at Washington University in St. Louis. This contract will enable Johego to, among other things:

  • Add 18 additional counties to our coverage area, allowing nearly 1.1 million Missourians to access our services.
  • Create a browser-based equivalent of our smartphone application so that anyone can search our directory using their laptop and desktop computers, including police officers in their squad cars.
  • Provide information about the hours of operation, financial requirements, and documentation requirements of services listed in our directory, enabling our users to more efficiently obtain the help they need.

This also means that we are hiring.

We are currently seeking to add two full-time staff members to our team: (1) a data engineer / backend developer and (2) a frontend developer / product designer. If you are interested in applying, please click on the image below. If you know someone who may be interested in using data science and software development to connect people in need with the services they need, please share this link with them via email or on social media.

The Johego Team

We would not be where we are today without the support of our friends, family, and colleagues in Decatur, Hannibal, St. Louis, and beyond. Thank you to everyone for your support!

– Michael

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Johego Wins Washington University’s Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition

I am delighted to report that Johego was selected as a winner of Washington University’s Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition!

Johego Wins Social Enterprise Competition
Dr. Heather Cameron & Michael Kehoe at the Award Ceremony
(Photo Credit: Rameez Ul Hassan)

Johego was one of 154 social enterprises to participate in this year’s competition. Here’s how the year-long competition worked:

The Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition Process: 2016-2017
The Competitive Process: 2016-2017
(Image Credit: Washington University in St. Louis)

In addition to the financial benefit, this prestigious award represents a validation of the technology and business model Johego has developed to help social workers, police officers, and other public servants connect people in need with resources: overnight shelter, medical assistance, mental health treatment, and more.

The award comes as Johego prepares to scale its innovative approach based on the success of its pilot project in and around Hannibal, MO. If you haven’t seen WGEM-TV’s coverage of our pilot project, we encourage you to check it out. Thank you to everyone who helped us during this twelve-month competition!

– Michael

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Update from Hannibal, MO

Training Session in Hannibal

Some of our supporters have wanted to learn more about our work in Hannibal, MO. We are happy to share our story.

Since our beginning, Johego has believed in the importance of building partnerships when attempting to address public needs: in fact, that belief is the basis for why we chose Johego for our name. In Hannibal, MO, we have had the fortune to work with outstanding partners: Families and Communities Together, Health Literacy Media, and The Mission Center, among others.

Because of their relationships with the community, Johego was able to accomplish our objectives in Hannibal, MO in relatively short order:

  • During the initial creation of our directory, they helped Johego mobilize a dozen volunteers who together made 226 phone calls to social service providers from the region in order to validate the information Johego collected about them via web scraping.

  • Once our smartphone application became available for download on iOS and Android, they helped us connect directly with over fifty social service professionals from the area, whom we trained in-person how to use our app. The above photo was taken during the first of those sessions.

  • During those training sessions, we encouraged these professionals to use our smartphone application to inform us when we need to update our directory — for example, when a provider changes their phone number. During the first four weeks following the first training session, we received 41 update requests, resolving each within 13.7 hours on average. We are particularly proud of that accomplishment, as most social service directories are updated only once each year!

  • Meanwhile, we have recorded hundreds of search data points based on how people have been using our smartphone application to connect with social services. In the future, such information may be able to help policy makers, funding agencies, and direct service nonprofits more efficiently allocate their resources.

In the coming weeks, Johego will be releasing our smartphone application to the public throughout northeast Missouri. We will be sure to keep you posted on that front, and if any other exciting developments occur.

As always, thank you for your support!

– Michael Kehoe

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