Challenges to becoming doctor can be overcome

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, discusses challenges of becoming a medical doctor, the importance of a support team & the role of representation.  Seeing others like yourself can provide the confidence that all the struggles and challenges can be overcome.

read the full Nevada Independent article here

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Unfortunately, I had never seen any doctors that looked like me and struggled with doubt. When I shared my goals with people I would often hear, “just stay a PA,” “that’s a lot of school” and “are you sure you can do that.” This is why representation matters for African-Americans. We need to see more of ourselves and people who look like us in the profession to know that it is possible.

With the encouragement and support of my father, I was able to push those voices aside and pursued becoming a physician. I was also fortunate to have someone help me navigate the process of getting into medical school, which involved significant preplanning.

Establishing a network in advance to gain clinical hours and shadowing hours, understanding which courses to take and having help with preparing for the MCAT was critical. These steps can be barriers for African-Americans, as we often do not have access to robust networks or resources. It helps to have a mentor, someone to invest time in you. Most importantly, it helps you to not give up.

Learn more about the challenges to becoming a doctor from Dr. Curry-Winchell continue reading @ Nevada Independent.

Matters of the heart

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, discusses heart health in her most recent article for The Nevada Independent.  In her Matters of the Heart article she reviews risk factors, mitigation steps and health practices to help keep your heart as healthy as possible.  Dont miss this insightful article Matters of the Heart.

read the full Nevada Independent article here

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With American Heart Month coming up soon, it’s important to shine a light on cardiovascular health and heart disease, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.

One person dies every 34 seconds in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease. Additionally, heart disease can affect anyone at any age and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. But what are some of the causes and symptoms of heart disease?

Causes, risk factors

The heart is a powerful, complex organ. There are several factors that enable it to beat and function every day. When heart disease develops, there is something hindering the proper flow of blood to the heart thus preventing the heart from pumping normally.

Continued @ Nevada Independent.

Equitable, quality pain treatment for Black people

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, discusses how we can work on ensuring equitable, quality treatment of pain in Black and marginalized people and reviews her recent TEDx talk which discusses historical distrust of the healthcare system with black and other minority groups.

read the full Nevada Independent article here

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In my recent TEDx Talk titled, Why Black Patients Don’t Trust the Healthcare System , I explored racially-based medical algorithms and their impact on health outcomes for Black patients. As a physician, I believe such algorithms have no place in the modern healthcare system, as they can affect how Black patients are diagnosed, as well as the morbidity and mortality rates in the community.

A study published as recently as 2016 by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science showed that 40 percent of first- and second-year medical students endorsed the false belief that “black people’s skin is thicker than white people’s,” and that trainees who believed Black people are not as sensitive to pain as white people were less likely to treat Black people’s pain appropriately. Another troubling report found that Black children diagnosed with appendicitis (which is extremely painful), were less likely to get pain medication in the emergency room than white children.

There is also the issue of the misguided notion that if someone is in pain, they must “present” (look and sound) a certain way. For Black patients, especially, if you don’t look tired or pained, or display a discernibly dismayed facial expression, a practitioner may assume you are not in pain. Yet pain cannot be placed in a lane in this way. There are various components that make up the experience of, and reaction to, pain — and unfortunately for people of color that’s not….

See what else Dr. BCW has to say in the full Nevada Independent article linked above.

Don’t downplay monkeypox — here’s what you should know

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, warns the Nevada Independent, Don’t downplay monkeypox — here’s what you should know.

Read the full Nevada Independent article here

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As cases of monkeypox infections continue to climb across the country, U.S. officials have declared the virus a public health emergency and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a global health emergency. These recent declarations are vital efforts to help increase awareness about this public health threat, as monkeypox has often been downplayed and stigmatized as a disease that can only infect those within the LGBTQ+ community.

This is erroneous. Monkeypox — though usually not fatal — is highly contagious and can be contracted and spread by anyone.

Monkeypox and the vaccine used to prevent it have been around for decades. However, we are now seeing a resurgence of the virus as well as other once-eradicated infectious diseases. The reasons are multi-faceted, including delays in regular health screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic, less access to the monkeypox vaccine, misinformation about the virus, and a general distrust of vaccines.

What it is and isn’t

To combat the spread of monkeypox, it is critical to understand what it is, and is not.

Monkeypox is a virus that can be spread from person-to-person by direct contact with a rash during intimate, skin-to-skin contact or by touching items that have been handled by an infected person. Sharing towels, clothes or drinking cups, as well as kissing, hugging or dancing with someone who has monkeypox, are all possible modes of transmitting the virus.

Monkeypox isn’t just contracted through close, intimate physical contact, though. It is also transmissible through respiratory secretions and droplets. For example, if an infected person who has lesions in their mouth coughs, it is possible for the virus to transmit to others around them….

See what else Dr. Curry-Winchell, has to share as she answers questions for Eat This, Not That as they discuss

Stay alert and be mindful as summer temperatures rise

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, tells Nevada Independent to stay alert and be mindful as summer temperatures rise.

Read the full Eat This, Not That article here

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Summer is finally here, providing opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, gather with loved ones, get more physically active and perhaps travel. While the season generally offers more time to indulge in these pleasures, there are some things to keep in mind as temperatures increase.

Keep baby cool. Most people are aware of the dangers of leaving a child in a car or participating in physical activities in the extreme heat. These are typical conditions that can increase the possibility of suffering from heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. However, getting heat exhaustion or a heat stroke is not limited to the outdoors. Both also can occur inside of a house.

When putting a child down for a nap, ensure that there is adequate air conditioning or cool air circulating in the room. Babies and young children are not able to verbally communicate so you may not be able to identify the typical signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Be aware of some of the early symptoms including irritability, loss of appetite, increased thirst, or any change in behavior that is not baseline for the child.

Additionally, it’s important to recognize the differences between heat exhaustion and a heat stroke, though the two share similarities…

See what else Dr. Curry-Winchell has say in the full post the Nevada Independent as she discusses why it is important to stay alert and be mindful as summer temperatures rise.


Nevada’s mask mandate has been lifted. Now what?

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, discusses the Nevada face mask mandate lift with the Nevada Independent

Read the full Nevada Independent article here

Dr. Curry-Winchell,

On what has been a long and uncertain road leading to the governor’s recent announcement about Nevada’s mask mandate being rolled back, there are still questions about what this new recommendation means for public health and our future as we move forward. For example, does this latest measure signal the end of the pandemic and are we really safe to say good-bye to masks?

Unfortunately, the lifting of the mask mandate doesn’t mean the pandemic is done. COVID-19 is still present, and we do not know whether the next variant will be worse, the same or milder.

The new mask guidelines from the State of Nevada are in response to COVID-19 virus infectivity rates. When rates are high in a specific area, it is recommended to still wear masks as they have been proven to provide a layer of protection from the virus. When infectivity rates trend lower, health and state officials make recommendations and respond accordingly — and that’s where you start to see a shift in restrictions such as what we are experiencing now.

For those who are unsure whether they should wear a mask or be a bit hesitant about unmasking, here are a few things to consider.

Hospitals and health care facilities can still require masks

According to the governor, hospitals and health care facilities are categorized as health and human services facilities and can therefore make their own decisions as to whether they will require masks. In these kinds of facilities, patients can range from those who are acutely ill to those seeking chemotherapy to those with other serious issues. It is important that these spaces are protected. Keep this in mind and consider providing a level of protection for yourself and other patients around you before entering….

Dr. Curry-Winchell continues to discuss the face mask mandate on The Nevada Independent


The urgent care aftermath of COVID-19

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, works with Nevada Independent to review the urgent care aftermath of COVID-19.

Read the full Nevada Independent article here

Dr. BCW,

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global devastation, producing long-term effects for all including those who have been diagnosed with the virus, those who lost loved ones to the virus,  and those struggling with the mental health impact of the virus. 

In urgent care facilities, we are seeing a blend of patients including those who have contracted COVID-19 and are suffering from the initial symptoms and those who are developing symptoms associated with long COVID. Initial symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and brain fog are mostly fleeting but are, unfortunately, long-lasting for some. Some long COVID patients are also continuing to cough and are experiencing additional symptoms including lack of concentration, which can be debilitating and disruptive to their daily lives. 

When you have a new cognitive impairment, the people you live and work with might not understand that you no longer have the same level of functionality — so there is also a social aspect that long-haulers have to navigate. They may find it stressful to talk about their symptoms and share their challenges with others, such as co-workers, bosses or friends, some of whom don’t believe them or are dismissive of  COVID.

Sadly, some pediatric patients with long COVID-19 are also having a hard time returning to normal activities. They are not able to walk or run as far, are experiencing chronic fatigue and are finding it hard to concentrate. Parents of these children struggle to help them understand COVID (or to understand it themselves) and worry about how symptoms could affect their children long-term as they grow. 

Additionally, we are seeing an increase in mental health issues. Some patients were already experiencing mental health challenges prior to the pandemic. During the pandemic, many people were not able to access services, as some facilities were completely shut down. Many people were also afraid to seek care because they were scared to catch the virus. Now, patients are visiting urgent care with mental health issues including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)…


Dr. BCW continues on The Nevada Independent

It’s not over — Omicron is here

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, reviews the new COVID-19 variant Omicron with the Nevada Independent

Read the full Nevada Independent article here

Dr. BCW,

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has arrived and is surging across the U.S., dominating over other variants and bringing with it new concerns about its potential impact and more questions about whether vaccinations are truly working. 

To understand Omicron, you have to understand the nature of viruses. Viruses naturally mutate and continue to be present so that they can infect. This happens to a greater degree when there are not high rates of vaccinations and so now, unfortunately, we have yet another variant.

Omicron looks to be highly transmissible and for those who are unvaccinated, it can present a high risk of falling ill, along with possible hospitalization and potential death. For those who have received the vaccine and still contracted the virus –– known as a breakthrough infection –– the symptoms have generally been mild to moderate.  

At the beginning of the vaccine rollout, it was said by some and then widely socialized that vaccines were 100 percent effective in preventing the virus. No vaccine is 100 percent, though, and unfortunately some people who were vaccinated still contracted the virus and passed away. Unvaccinated people who are still skeptical, along with vaccinated individuals who have had breakthrough infections, may think the vaccine failed.

It didn’t. It actually did what it was supposed to do, which was provide a level of protection in the hope that fewer people would fall severely ill, be hospitalized or have a bad outcome. In the midst of breakthrough infections and a new variant, vaccines are still a valid way to better your odds on having a severe illness — and the best chance we have to fight COVID-19. To put it in perspective, if we were to go back in time to the beginning of the pandemic, we would be in a much graver situation now if we didn’t have the vaccines at all…

Dr. BCW continues on The Nevada Independent.

Tips for navigating the holidays and awkward COVID conversations

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, mets with Nevada Independent to review the upcoming holidays and provides tips on awkward COVID conversations.

Ready the full Nevada Independent article here

You can see and feel it all around: The holiday season is officially here, and there is a true sense of excitement to travel again, gather together and get back to our normal lives. 

As we make and finalize plans, there are a few things to be mindful of during this time, especially as we visit with friends and family. First, remember that we are, unfortunately, still grappling with containing the COVID-19 virus even with vaccines and booster shots readily available to most Americans.

When planning to gather with loved ones and travel, here are a few tips to help  protect you and your family as you continue to navigate this environment.

Have “The Talk”

Though it can be uncomfortable and awkward to discuss, have an honest discussion up front about who is and is not vaccinated. Prior to engaging in those conversations, think about your values and comfort level when it comes to COVID-19 and the vaccine. This approach will allow you to set the tone for how you proceed with hosting or participating in holiday events.

Once you have decided your comfort level, and if you decide you need to know the vaccination status of those who also will attend an event, share that with people — and provide a reason as to why it’s personally important to you to know the information. 

For example, even before the vaccine rollout, I would share with people that I wasn’t comfortable going to certain events because I had a 98-year-old father and didn’t want to risk transmitting the virus to him. Communicating your personal reasons, such as, “I’m nervous and don’t want someone to get ill from my gathering,” can help prevent others from becoming defensive…

Dr. BCW continues on The Nevada Independent.

Can antibiotics, ivermectin and supplements help fight COVID-19?

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, talks antibiotics, ivermectin and supplements and weather or not they help fight COVID-19.

Read the full Nevada Independent article here

Dr. BCW,

As the junior year of the pandemic continues, many are still reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Frustrated, fearful and distrusting, some have turned to the use of unauthorized or unregulated drugs in hopes of preventing and treating the virus – despite an abundance of research and science-based data that supports the effectiveness of the vaccine.

When considering the use of drugs such as antibiotics, supplements and the now trending antiparasitic drug ivermectin, it’s important to note that COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacterial infection. The components of a virus and a bacterial infection are completely different. I often tell my patients that I can prescribe the strongest antibiotic in the world, but if they have a viral infection, it’s not going to help. In fact, taking an antibiotic to treat a virus will not have any benefits — and could cause adverse side effects or, unfortunately, cause a person to build up a resistance to antibiotics altogether.


According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), antiparasitic drugs such as Ivermectin should not be used to treat COVID-19. Antiparasitic medications–much like antibiotics–are not appropriate or effective treatments for the virus as these medications have yet to be proven to respond to viral infections. The FDA also says taking large doses of Ivermectin is “not ok” and that overdose on Ivermectin can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (problems with balance), seizures, coma and even death.

Though supplements and vitamins can help the immune system, they do not treat or prevent COVID-19. Supplements are not regulated, and we do not truly know the effects they have…

Dr. BCW continues on The Nevada Independent