Fidji Simo knows firsthand how difficult it is for women to have their health concerns taken seriously.
Instacart’s new CEO has been afflicted by common women’s health problems for most of her life—and for most of that time, she’s been fighting to make doctors listen to her. As a teenager, Simo started experiencing the symptoms of endometriosis, the gynecological-tissue disorder that affects 1 in every 10 women and often first manifests as period pain. But it took her until age 29—after a miscarriage, and more than a decade of doctor’s visits—to get her symptoms actually diagnosed.
“Women are told at a very young age that atrocious pain during a period is completely normal, and you just have to suck it up,” says Simo, who is profiled in the October issue of Fortune. “Whereas, if any man had the pain of endometriosis, we would have solved it by now!”
Now she aims to be part of that solution. For the past year, as she oversaw Facebook’s flagship app and then made the jump to Instacart this summer, Simo has been quietly helping get a new women’s health startup off the ground. The Metrodora Institute, a for-profit clinic with a non-profit foundation devoted to research and advocacy, is expected to open in Salt Lake City next summer. Its stated mission is to advance women’s health equity, with a focus on treating people with what its founders call “complex neuroimmune disorders.”