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


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. 


New Menopause Studies

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. Today I want to talk about some new Menopause studies and the insights they are providing about the impacts of Menopause on Black women in America.  But first let’s talk about Menopause in general.

Menopause: Embracing Change and Wellness

Let’s dive into a topic that impacts countless individuals: Menopause. This natural phase initiates as hormones like estrogen undergo a significant decline. In medical terms, Menopause isn’t officially recognized until a year elapses between menstrual cycles.

Understanding the Symptoms

Common symptoms of Menopause encompass weight gain, fatigue, hot flashes, memory issues, sleep disruptions, mood changes, and discomfort during intercourse. Interestingly, some patients perceive the loss of their period as a part of their identity. Remember that everyone experiences health changes differently, so you may not experience any symptoms at all.
While it typically occurs between ages 45 and 55, it can vary due to factors such as family history, surgeries, and health conditions. Also there are also some medications that could cause an early onset of Menopause. However, what are new Menopause Studies saying?

Diversity in Experience

Interestingly, new Menopause studies indicate Black women experience Menopause approximately 8.5 months earlier than White women. While it’s not completely understood why at this time, it is believed that social determinants and systemic racism in certain healthcare practices could be a contributing factors.

Health Implications

Menopause carries far-reaching health implications, including an elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Of course, osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, potentially leading to an increased risk of bone fractures.

Navigating Solutions

Various treatment paths exist for Menopause, including hormone replacement therapy, a menopause-conscious diet, and self-care routines. However, each choice accompanies potential risks, especially hormone replacement therapy. It is always recommended to consult your healthcare provider before embarking on a new treatment, particularly in the case of something as impactful as Menopause. Of course they may also have updates from new Menopause studies that could be helpful as well.

Empowerment Through Support

Remember, you’re not alone in your Menopause journey. Advocating for your well-being and seeking medical assistance when necessary is key. In closing, talk with your family and friends about Menopause. Open discussions can help those who might be too embarrassed to ask for help find the support they need.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 

To see what Dr. Curry-Winchell had to say about new Menopause Studies on Beyond Clinical Walls check out.


Voting Impacts Health?

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. Today, let’s delve into a topic often underestimated in its impact on our well-being: voting. Some of you are thinking, “Voting impacts health?” According to the CDC as much as 80% of our health is shaped by “social determinants of health”? These are often directly impacted by local and federal laws, health policies, minimum wages, and environmental protections that directly impact health outcomes. This is why voter registration is so important.
https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2021/20_0569.htm

Your Vote, Your Health: Unveiling the Impact

Voting isn’t merely about selecting representatives. It is also about endorsing policies that greatly influence our collective and individual well-being. It’s about standing up for a healthier, more equitable environment that benefits everyone. Your vote can impact the health of your community through influence on social programs, environmental issues, and health regulations. Do not underestimate the power these factors have on your health and the health of your community. Also, The American Medical Association underscores the profound link between voting and health, recognizing that “voting is a social determinant of health and significantly contributes to the analyses of other social determinants of health.”
https://policysearch.ama-assn.org/policyfinder/detail/voting?uri=%2FAMADoc%2FHOD.xml-h-440.805.xml

Barriers and Disparities

Sadly, certain communities face barriers to voting. For instance, communities of color, young people, rural residents, and disabled Americans often encounter obstacles that hamper their access to the voting process. Of course, these very same groups are often disproportionately affected by health disparities. To help improve health equity, we need to enable those facing barriers to use their vote to express their wishes.

The Power of Change

One group working to help underrepresented individuals vote is Vot-ER (https://vot-er.org). Vote-ER is a nonprofit on a mission for nonpartisan civic engagement within healthcare settings. Founded by Dr. Alister Martin, an emergency room physician. Vot-ER empowers healthcare professionals, clinical students, and medical institutions to champion voter registration and civic participation among patients and local communities. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which empowered the DMV, also grants hospitals the authority to conduct nonpartisan voter registration. Like voter registration at the DMV, healthcare settings possess a unique platform to promote civic engagement. By donning a simple badge, healthcare providers signify their readiness to assist patients with voter registration right in the hospital or clinic.

Your Role

Above all, incorporating nonpartisan voter registration and education into healthcare settings enables patients to participate actively in their civic responsibilities, ultimately influencing health-oriented policies. Voter readiness isn’t a sporadic effort tied to high-profile elections; it’s an ongoing commitment. If you’re a medical provider, social worker, or student in the health field, I invite you to join me in this movement. Obtain your free badge at https://vot-er.org/badge.

Whether you’re a healthcare professional or a patient, your voice matters. Take a moment now to register to vote or verify your voter registration status by visiting: https://drbcw.com/vote

Closing

In conclusion, we can forge healthier communities through a more vibrant democracy. Let’s channel the power of voting to shape a better future for ourselves and future generations. Above all, let’s make a lasting impact on our health and our future through voting.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 

Check out Dr. Curry-Winchell’s Beyond Clinical Walls video on this subject: