A specialist in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr. Geoff Capraro has been teaching medical students, residents, and fellows at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University since 2010. About three years ago, in response to the growing opioid epidemic within Rhode Island and around the country, Capraro founded NaloxBox with Claudia Rebola, a professor of industrial design at Rhode Island School of Design.
“I am just a health professional responding to a public health crisis.”
The mission of NaloxBox is to improve the capacity of bystander rescuers to by equipping them with a kit of easily accessible tools to quickly save the lives of victims of opioid overdose. “At NaloxBox we aim to increase access, reduce stigma and save lives one box at a time,” says Capraro.
The SEG Network Effect
Despite launching NaloxBox in 2017, Geoff Capraro doesn’t view himself solely as an entrepreneur. “I am just a health professional responding to a public health crisis,” he says. While developing the venture, he found himself looking for local resources that could improve his business skills. Through his research, he discovered Social Enterprise Greenhouse and came in for a tour. That’s when he learned about our Accelerator program. Capraro enrolled in SEG’s Health & Wellness Accelerator in fall 2017.
“SEG is a really special place. They understand founders’ passion and are instrumental in helping founders navigate challenges in both their professional and personal lives, so they can innovate with impact sustainably. The ecosystem of entrepreneurship at SEG is great.”
Prior to joining our Accelerator, NaloxBox had received two mini-grants of $5,000 each from the Rhode Island Department of Health. Using these grant funds, the startup had been able to assemble and install 58 NaloxBoxes to various locations around the state. By the time the Accelerator started, however, they had used their grants and had an operating budget of zero. In addition, Capraro and Rebola were the only two people working on the project and they were not paying themselves. Now, two years after graduating from our Accelerator, NaloxBox has shipped 146 boxes to seven states including additional locations in Rhode Island.
NaloxBox can be found at the Dunkin Donuts Center, Amos House, and various shelters, sober living houses, and universities. NaloxBox is also under new leadership. “I’ve handed the operations over to Erin McDonough from DMAT and she and they are doing amazing work executing the scaling up of NaloxBox,” says Capraro. “I balance life wearing different hats, primarily doing clinical work, but also teaching, conducting research, and NaloxBox — but NaloxBox remains a big passion.”
Since leaving SEG, NaloxBox has also aided in job creation. Individuals in recovery and jobs training at Amos House help construct and ship the boxes and are reimbursed per box constructed. When asked what he envisions for NaloxBox, Capraro says, “We’d really love to introduce more training, teaching people how to promptly recognize overdose and properly administer naloxone using the tools in NaloxBox. We would also like to get NaloxBox into more cities where there is a high need.” Capraro credits SEG for providing terrific advisors, a student intern, and significant press that has reached media far beyond Rhode Island.
Capraro now serves as an SEG advisor, offering support to other social ventures. “SEG is a really special place,” he says. “They understand founders’ passion and are instrumental in helping founders navigate challenges in both their professional and personal lives, so they can innovate with impact sustainably. The ecosystem of entrepreneurship at SEG is great.”