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Eating Disorders in the Black Community

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, or Dr. BCW for short, and today, I want to talk about the pressing yet often overlooked issue of eating disorders in the Black community.

Busting Myths

Despite prevalent myths, eating disorders do not discriminate—they affect individuals across all ethnicities. The false belief that these disorders are rare among Black people is not only incorrect but also detrimental. It hinders those in need from seeking support. The myth is partly rooted in cultural norms that favor curvier body types, potentially masking the presence of an eating disorder. Moreover, the lack of diverse representation in media and healthcare narratives reinforces this dangerous stereotype, usually depicting eating disorders as afflictions of white, affluent females.

The Impact of Stereotypes

In my practice, the impact of eating disorders on Black individuals is palpable. These disorders are severe health conditions with potentially life-threatening consequences. Being a Black female physician and health advocate, I’ve witnessed the additional hurdles my patients encounter—delayed diagnosis, limited access to treatment, and the weight of societal stigma. To dismantle these barriers, we must first acknowledge and confront the stereotypes and biases at play. This involves a collective effort to amplify inclusive research and education and to reshape the media portrayal of eating disorders.

Moving Towards Health Equity

The path to health equity demands that we elevate the conversation about body image and mental health in the Black community. We must foster an inclusive healthcare environment where everyone feels seen and adequately supported. Advocating for comprehensive education, diverse representation, and accessible healthcare services is essential. It’s about creating a healthcare system that truly understands and responds to diverse needs.

Please take the time to check out my recent SheKnows article by clicking the link below.

Why Eating Disorders in Black People Frequently Go Undiagnosed, According to a Doctor

 

Stay informed and prioritize your health! – Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 

#EatingDisordersAwareness #HealthEquity #BlackHealthMatters


Addressing Healthcare Disparities in Children of Color

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, or Dr. BCW for short; I recently discussed addressing healthcare disparities in children of color with NBC News. After that conversation, I wanted to take the time to discuss these disparities in a little more detail. There have been a couple of new studies that have once again exposed these long-existing issues. For some, these might be new ideas, but for many, these unsettling realities are all to understood.

Understanding the Disparities

According to new research, children of color receive lower-quality healthcare compared to their white counterparts. This inequality manifests in various ways, including LESS frequent use of diagnostic imaging and pain medication, longer ER wait times, and higher rates of complications during and after surgery. If you are interested in reading about these you can visit these websites:

Root Causes of These Disparities

The reasons behind these disparities are complex, involving socioeconomic factors, geographical limitations, and underfunding in hospitals serving communities of color. Additionally, medical mistrust and bias play significant roles in perpetuating these inequities. Black Americans have faced these issues for a long time. Many of the biases we face are rooted in mis-held beliefs from generations past, that have continued to get propagated through societal norms, institutional practices, oral and written histories, and just our general culture. This is why many people to this day believe that black people have thicker skin or feel less pain. And it is these believes that lead to mistreatment like inadequate pain management from doctors.

Empowering Parents and Caregivers

As a parent or caregiver, it’s essential to actively advocate for your child’s health. Ensure that healthcare providers are accessible and willing to address your concerns promptly. It’s ok to ask direct questions about the diagnosis process and understand the rationale behind the treatment plan. In fact its a critical part of maintaining a healthy dialog with the provider to make sure you are heard. This approach not only empowers you with knowledge but also helps in determining if your healthcare provider is culturally competent and truly listening to your concerns.

Bridging the Gap

Closing this gap requires a collective effort. Health education and literacy are key. Understanding what quality healthcare should look like and knowing the right questions to ask can make a substantial difference. Also, acknowledging the data showing disproportionate disease rates in specific groups is critical in justifying and highlighting the ongoing issue. Finally we need to all acknowledge that bias, both conscious and unconscious are real influences on our behaviors and that these influences are having a detrimental impact on non-white people in the US. We need to get past the misconception of “I don’t see color” acknowledge that we all do and look at ourselves and those around us and think about what those observations are doing to our decision making.

Continuous Advocacy

I urge parents to persistently seek the best care possible. If the care received doesn’t meet your expectations or needs, don’t hesitate to explore other options. Remember, your health and that of your family is invaluable, and you have the right to the highest quality of care.

In closing, I thank NBC News for the highlighting this this vital issue. As we continue to work towards eliminating these disparities, remember to advocate for and prioritize your family’s health.

Stay informed and prioritize your health! – Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

To see the Dr. BCW / Dr. Curry-Winchell interview on Addressing Healthcare Disparities in Children of Color: visit this link


Diversity in Leadership

Hi, I’m Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, known as Dr. BCW. In an enlightening episode of Beyond Clinical Walls Podcast, I spoke with Jay Guilford, a specialist in leadership and DEI training. His work with giants like Google and Uber has now branched into advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare.

Insights on Leadership Diversity

  1. Personal Experiences: Jay recounted his healthcare experiences, shedding light on the biases in medical treatment. Of course, as a black female physician, I share some of my experiences as well.
  2. Why DEI Matters in Healthcare: Our chat centered on the critical need for DEI training in the medical field. Jay’s personal story underscored how biases can dangerously sway patient care.
  3. Broadening DEI Scope: We delved into the vast realm of DEI, moving beyond just anti-racism. It’s about embracing all forms of diversity in leadership roles, especially in healthcare.
  4. The Journey of Learning: Emphasizing self-education, we talked about understanding our biases to offer more compassionate and effective healthcare.
  5. Actionable Steps: I shared practical tips for listeners, particularly healthcare professionals, to enhance their DEI understanding and application. It’s a continuous learning process for better healthcare delivery.

Conclusion

Of course, this podcast episode was a deep dive into the importance of diversity in leadership within healthcare. Join us in this vital discussion to foster a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system.

Check out the full podcast: https://www.beyondclinicalwallspodcast.com/2118184/14245963

To learn more about Jay Gilford’s work check out: https://www.coworkslead.com/

#DiversityInLeadership #Dr_BCW #JayGuilford #DEIInHealthcare #InclusiveHealthcare #LeadershipDevelopment #HealthcareDiversity #BeyondClinicalWalls #EquityInHealthcare


Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. I’m excited to share my recent collaboration with the Health Unmuted Podcast on their mini-series “Preventing Type 2 Diabetes.” This series is a vital resource for anyone at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as their loved ones.

Understanding Diabetes

In the U.S., approximately 33 million people live with type 2 diabetes, and many more are at risk. The first episode of this series dives into the basics of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, focusing on early detection and understanding the condition.

Recognizing Symptoms and Early Detection

Episode two is particularly close to my heart, as it emphasizes the importance of recognizing early signs of prediabetes. This stage is crucial for intervention and can significantly reduce the progression to type 2 diabetes.

The Power of Diet

Diet plays a key role in managing and preventing diabetes. The third episode of the series discusses how simple dietary changes can make a significant impact. It’s not about giving up the foods you love but about understanding how food affects your body and making mindful choices.

Accessing Healthy Foods

Access to healthy food can be a challenge for many. Episode four focuses on finding resources and programs that make healthy eating more accessible, especially for those living with prediabetes.

Lifestyle Changes: Exercise and Sleep

Preventing type 2 diabetes isn’t just about diet. In episode five, we explore how regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management contribute to overall health and diabetes prevention. Small, consistent changes can lead to significant improvements.

Exploring Medication Options

Medication can be a crucial aspect of managing prediabetes. Episode six covers various medication options and the importance of discussing these with healthcare providers. It also provides resources to make medication more affordable.

The Road Ahead

Finally, episode seven encapsulates the journey of preventing type 2 diabetes. It’s a continuous process of learning and adapting. The episode provides valuable resources and next steps to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

My Takeaway

Collaborating on this series has been an enriching experience. It aligns with my passion for health literacy and proactive healthcare. I hope this podcast series empowers you with the knowledge and confidence to manage or prevent type 2 diabetes.

For more information and to listen to the series, check out Health Unmuted on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to your health.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

 

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)


Black Women in Medicine

In this episode of Beyond Clinical Walls Podcast, Dr. Curry-Winchell, also known as Dr. BCW, talks about the challenges facing black women in medicine, as she discusses with Dr. Ivie Okundaye.

Join Dr. BCW in this enlightening episode of Beyond Clinical Walls Podcast. She engages in a deep conversation with Dr. Okundaye. Dr. Okundaye is a nephrologist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. In this candid discussion, Dr. Okundaye shares her inspirational journey. From her roots in the Midwest to her remarkable achievements in the medical field.

Born to Nigerian immigrant parents, Dr. Okundaye’s path led her through prestigious institutions like Wake Forest University and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. She shares her experiences, shaped by her identity and the challenges of being a black woman in medicine. Of course Dr. Curry-Winchell relates to many of these challenges. Hear these two physicians provide their unique perspective on health equity and the importance of diversity in healthcare.

Dr. Okundaye delves into her experiences in medical school and her fellowship at Stanford University. She highlights the challenges and triumphs of her journey. Of course, both physicians share their dedication to patient care, self-advocacy, and mentoring the next generation of medical professionals. Particularly the next generation of black women in medicine.

The discussion also explores Dr. Okundaye’s venture into health communication through radio shows and podcasts, her passion for enhancing health literacy, and her innovative consulting firm designed to guide aspiring medical professionals.

This episode is not just a narrative of personal success. It’s a beacon of hope and guidance for anyone aspiring to make a difference in the world of medicine. Regardless of their background.

Join Dr. Curry-Winchell on the Beyond Clinical Walls Podcast for an inspiring tale of resilience, commitment, and the power of diversity in shaping the future of healthcare.


Reduce Heart Attack Risk

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. Today, I want to talk about a crucial topic that affects many of us: reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. A new study has shed light on how a specific program is making a difference without significantly increasing healthcare costs.

Understanding the Risk Reduction Program

A recent study published in JAMA highlights the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model. This initiative, launched by the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2017, pays healthcare organizations to track and manage cardiac risks in Medicare patients. The program focuses on key risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking status, and diabetes.

Promising Results

The latest research involving over 130,000 participants (excluding the control group) shows a 0.3% reduction in first-time stroke and heart attack risks over five years. Interestingly, this initiative only increased Medicare spending by an average of $2.11 per recipient, indicating a cost-effective approach to managing heart health.

Importance for Diverse Populations

One notable aspect of this study is the higher percentage of Black participants identified as medium or high risk. Of course this is not always the case. As a healthcare professional, I believe that addressing this requires a combination of effective risk reduction models and community outreach. It’s about enhancing health literacy and ensuring that individuals feel comfortable discussing their health concerns.

Challenges and Future Directions

Despite these positive developments, we face challenges, such as data accuracy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare delivery. Further research and refinement of these models are essential to maximize their effectiveness.

Final Thoughts

The Million Hearts Model’s success in reducing cardiac risks is a step forward in our fight against heart disease. It’s vital for healthcare providers to continue exploring and improving these models, making heart health a priority for all, especially in underserved communities.

Remember, heart health is crucial at every stage of life.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)


Gestational Diabetes

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell. Today, I want to discuss a significant health issue that often goes undiscussed. Gestational diabetes, especially as it pertains to the Black maternal health crisis in the United States.

In honor of National Diabetes Month and the current Maternal Health crisis I partnered with She Knows to highlight this growing concern. You can find my article from She Knows HERE

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a condition that can develop during pregnancy. It is usually diagnosed through screening between the 24th and 28th weeks. The exact cause is not fully understood, it’s thought to be linked to hormonal changes in pregnancy. Symptoms can be subtle, such as increased thirst and frequent urination, or non-existent, making it a potentially silent threat.

The condition not only affects mothers by increasing the likelihood of complications like premature birth and cesarean sections, but it also impacts infants, who may face respiratory difficulties, future obesity, and a higher diabetes risk later in life.

The Impact on Black Maternal Health

Alarmingly, gestational diabetes is a gateway to type 2 diabetes postpartum. Research shows that Black women are disproportionately diagnosed with type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes, this disparity could be due to a lack of consistent screenings post-childbirth, as symptoms may be mistakenly attributed to typical postpartum recovery.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where the pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body becomes insulin resistant. This can lead to severe health issues, including vision loss, nerve damage, and increased risk of kidney and heart diseases — conditions that already have a higher mortality rate among Black individuals.

The Importance of Advocacy and Screening

Advocacy is crucial in addressing this health crisis. The healthcare system’s systemic racism and unconscious biases often lead to the dismissal of Black women’s pain and concerns. I speak from personal experience. As a physician within the healthcare system, I encountered life-threatening challenges during my childbirth due to my pain being overlooked.

For those diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s critical to request diabetes screenings after giving birth. As healthcare providers, we must confront unconscious biases and eradicate race-based medicine to improve health outcomes for all mothers and children.

In conclusion, while gestational diabetes is a complex condition with profound implications for maternal health, awareness and proactive management can lead to better outcomes. Help spread awareness, share this article with loved ones and those that can benefit from the information. Increased health literacy gives everyone a better opportunity to advocate for their own health. Greater awareness helps bring light to disparities and of course helps bring change.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 


Banned Foods

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. Today, I want to discuss banned foods. There are some popular candies and snacks available in the US that might not make it to the shelves of other countries. As Halloween approaches, it’s essential to know why certain foods, especially our favorite treats, are banned elsewhere.

Recently, a startling trend has emerged. Many US foods have been banned from international shelves due to additives such as brominated vegetable oil (BVO), potassium bromate, propylparaben, and the infamous red dye No. 3.

Why Are These Additives a Concern?

BVO

Predominantly found in certain sodas, BVO is associated with skin irritations. Long-term exposure has been linked to headaches, memory loss, and even reproductive issues. Discontinued by giants like Coke and Pepsi, years ago, it remains prevalent in smaller brands. Notably, as of October 2023, California has banned foods containing BVO, with New York considering a similar move.

Potassium Bromate

This chemical, primarily used in baked goods to improve texture, has been flagged as a potential carcinogen. Its usage has led to bans in several countries, including the UK, Canada, and the EU. California goes a step further by mandating warning labels on foods containing it.

Propylparaben

Propylparaben is an anti-fungal, anti-microbial agent. It is used in everything from cosmetics to lotions to foods and baked goods. Alarmingly, it’s been linked to reproductive health issues in both genders.

Red Dye No. 3

Red Dye No. 3 is a common ingredient in both cosmetics and foods. In fact, it is estimated to be in over 3,000 foods. This dye was banned from lipsticks in the ’90s due to cancer risks. A recent Californian study also linked it to behavioral problems, leading brands like Peeps to discontinue its use by 2024.

While the thrill of Halloween centers around spooky costumes and candy hauls, it’s crucial to be aware of what we’re consuming. Of course, many of us have grown up eating these additives without immediate harm, continual exposure might be detrimental.

In conclusion, as you indulge in the Halloween festivities, remember to make informed choices for both you and your family.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 


Consequences of Pharmacy Closures in Underserved Communities

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. Today, I want to discuss the consequences of pharmacy closures in underserved communities. It’s impossible to ignore the distressing trend in our health care landscape. A rising number of pharmacy closures, especially in underserved communities. I recently delved into this significant issue with Anne-Marie Green on CBS News. It’s clear that the implications of these closures go far beyond mere inconvenience.

For many years, major drugstore chains like Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens have been pillars in numerous neighborhoods, offering a vast range of essential health services. Now, as they begin to close down, the resulting implications are profound and deeply concerning, particularly for communities already struggling with limited health care access and basic services.

The Disproportionate Impact on Communities of Color

During my recent CBS interview, I highlighted that these pharmacy closures aren’t happening uniformly across regions. Disadvantaged communities of color are disproportionately affected. Deprived of access to crucial medications, essential items, and basic health screenings, these communities face a heightened risk of health disparities. 

The Growing Phenomenon of “Pharmacy Deserts”

“Pharmacy Deserts” has become a common term for areas without access to a local pharmacy. This problem is eerily reminiscent of the well-known challenge of food deserts, where many communities lack grocery stores that offer healthy foods. In my experience, there’s a clear overlap between these two challenges, especially in communities of color and rural locales. When you combine the absence of healthy food with a lack of essential medications, you end up with a silent yet burgeoning health crisis. Of course that is what these pharmacy closures are doing. They are hurting health care access. 

The Broad-ranging Effects on Health Services

Pharmacies offer so much more than merely prescription medications. They provide critical health services like blood pressure monitors, over the counter medicine, and vital check-ins such as COVID tests and vaccinations during the pandemic’s height. As these pharmacy closures continue, we’re watching essential health care touch points vanish, which makes achieving optimal health even more daunting for many.

Throughout my practice, I’ve always regarded the local pharmacy as a vital partner in ensuring patient care. The diminishing presence of these pharmacies, driven by an array of factors, including industry shifts and economic challenges, is directly impacting patient care in ways many might not immediately recognize.

Conclusion

The broader issue here is not just about pharmacy closures or businesses shutting their doors. This crisis affects the health, well-being, and very essence of entire communities. The increasing chasm of health inequities is gravely concerning. Of course tackling this challenge demands combined efforts from all stakeholders. 

This topic deserves deeper scrutiny. I hope we can keep these issues at the forefront of conversation and continue to push towards actionable solutions. Of course in hopes that we can resolve these challenges with health care access. 

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 Check out this video from Dr. Curry-Winchell @ Dr_BCW to learn more about the consequences of pharmacy closures in underserved communities. 


Stress – Understanding and Managing

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. Today I want to talk about stress – understanding it and managing it. Stress is a ubiquitous presence in our lives and a common topic in health forums. Stress manifests diversely for each individual, depending on various factors, situations, and durations. It can evoke emotions like unease, anxiety, and helplessness, which can interfere with our sleep, appetite, energy levels and our life in general.

The Biological Impact

Extended exposure to stress activates our body’s fight or flight system— the autonomic nervous system— releasing an overabundance of stress hormones like cortisol. This constant exposure disrupts nearly all of the body’s processes and paves the way for an array of mental and physical health issues like anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and even difficulties with memory and concentration.

Acknowledging Stress

It’s important to acknowledge the stressors in our lives and identify the sources. Recognizing the feelings of stress is the first step towards investing in the holistic health of our mind and body. Simple actions like taking a break from social media, reading a book, or indulging in enjoyable activities can help alleviate stress, even if momentarily.

The Value of Self-Investment

Investing time in activities that bring joy can uplift your mood and significantly reduce overall stress. It’s crucial to discover joy in the daily nuances of life and to prioritize self-care and balanced living. Regular exercise, nutritious meals, and maintaining a balance in social engagements are pivotal in managing stress and enhancing mental well-being.

Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is crucial to mental and physical well-being, and its deficiency is linked to irritability, focus problems, and increased risks of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Thus, it’s vital to prioritize sleep to maintain a healthy balance between the mind and body.

Seeking Help is a Strength

If stress becomes overwhelming, seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness but rather a strength. Reach out to organizations like the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 for guidance, support, and personalized strategies. Managing stress and mental health is a continual journey, so be patient, allow growth, and continually monitor your mental state.

Conclusion

Remember, managing stress effectively enables you to navigate life’s challenges more smoothly. There isn’t a universal solution for managing stress, as everyone’s needs and situations are different. It’s crucial to explore different stress management techniques and mental wellness strategies and see what works best for you.

Remember to invest in yourself, maintain a balanced lifestyle, connect with others, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed. With self-patience and consistent effort, cultivating mental resilience becomes an attainable goal, allowing you to face life’s uncertainties with a balanced mind.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 

Check out this video from Dr. Curry-Winchell @ Beyond Clinical Walls to learn more: