At Venture Connectors’ August lunch, Dr. Dawn Forbes shared how she and her colleagues went from addressing a critical need in her patient population to founding NASCEND, a public benefit corporation (PBC), certified B Corp and Canopy-certified company that has already impacted the lives of 1.6 million infants nationally — and they are just getting started.

NASCEND provides technology-enhanced training, education and certification to health care providers and systems that transform the quality of care and medical outcomes for opioid exposed infants (OEI) and their families. Dr. Forbes shared how she and her team saw an opportunity to address and decrease one of the most pressing health care and social problems our society is facing today — 7% of pregnant women report opioid use, and every 24 minutes, a baby is born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Dr. Forbes explained how NASCEND’s new continuum of care is proven to minimize treatment, reduce NICU admissions, shorten hospital stays and reduce costs. She shared the company’s journey to becoming B-Corp and Canopy-certified, and how they balance profit with mission. She also talked about NASCEND’s projected growth and expansion, with plans to reach more hospitals, providers and families across the country.

Dr. Forbes is board certified in neonatal-perinatal medicine and pediatrics and is a nationally recognized expert in the care and improved outcomes of infants and families affected by substance use disorder. She also provides education, counseling and medication assisted treatment (MAT) for pregnant and early parenting women in recovery with Behavioral Health Group, one of the largest addiction recovery programs in the United States.

Dr. Forbes’ made the Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneurs to Watch List in 2021, was honored as a Louisville Business First Healthcare Hero Innovator in 2020, and has led NASCEND to become a Healthcare Business Review Top 10 Health Education Services Provider in 2023, and Canopy’s Top Social Impact Company in 2023.