National Minority Health MonthAnnually, since 1995 public health professionals have celebrated National Public Health Week (NPHW), the first week of April. This year is no different as we bring together communities to recognize public health successes and advocate for current public health issues April 2 to April 8. This year’s theme is Healthiest Nation 2030: Changing Our Future Together. Each day during NPHW, there will be a focus on the following public health issues: behavioral health, communicable disease, environmental health, injury and violence prevention, and assurance to the right to health.

While we focus on the abovementioned themes during NPHW, it is also important to speak to and acknowledge that certain populations are disproportionately affected by these issues, as we observe National Minority Health Month during the month of April. Continue reading

POC Health Matters Monthly Feature, Uncategorized

1 (2)Name: Tarik Daniels

Degree: B.A. Double Major in Poli Sci /International Studies

Current University/Alma Mater: Bowling Green State University

City, State: Austin Texas

Organization Business  Name: WhatsintheMirror?



Website: http://www.whatsinthemirror.org

Area of expertise: Art and Mental Health Advocacy

Inspiration: I’m inspired by the endless possibilities that ART can be used to end the stigma of mental illness and mental wellness in communities of color.

How WhatsintheMirror? addresses health equity and inequities: Whatsinthemirror? considers itself the bridge between mental health clinicians and the community we serve as a hub through social media campaigns/presence and ART.  We continue to provide programming to youth and other populations who make up equity disparities.

POC Health Champion Leader's Spotlights

Name: Mary Ford

Degree: Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Current University or Alma Mater: East West College of Natural Medicine, University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine

City, State: Sarasota, FL

Organization: Restore Wellness, LLC

Website: www. Restorewellness.net

Areas of expertise: Cardio metabolic disease, women’s health, weight management

Inspiration: During my educational pursuits, I have acquired valuable knowledge pertaining to the inner-workings of the human body, along with methods to promote long-term states of health and wellness. As a naturopathic doctor, I am trained to optimize health through various modalities such as lifestyle management, diet and nutrition, botanical medicine, and supplementation. My areas of focus include women’s health, weight management, and cardio metabolic disease.

My passion is to empower members of the community to be advocates of their own health through education. My philosophy includes teaching others how to take advantage of the healing power of nature. I aim to promote a holistic approach to health and wellness to women and their family

How Restore Wellness addresses health equity and inequities: I would like to let others know that their health goals are attainable. Holistic medicine and nutrition have become elitist in our culture. I would like to change that and make holistic heath and nutrition education accessible.

To be featured as POC Health Champion Leader Spotlight, click here to complete the questionnaire.



health equity, POC Health Matters Monthly Feature, public health

POC Monthly Health Features

POCHM Monthly Features_Jasmine WestbrooksJasmine Westbrooks

Degree:Nutrition and Dietetics

Current university: Rosalind Franklin University

City: Sebring, FL

Business organizations: EatWell Exchange, Inc. & Wilkins and Westbrooks Nutrition Counseling, LLC

Areas of expertise: Wellness, community nutrition, nutrition education, diabetes education, and weight management

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#BlackHealthMatters: Heart Disease

POC FebruarySimilar to diabetes, heart disease disproportionately affects Black/African Americans. According to the American Heart Association, the prevalence of high blood pressure among African Americans is the highest in the world. And like diabetes, high blood pressure is associated with lifestyle behaviors such as healthy eating and physical activity. Although research indicates that we are predisposed to salt sensitivity, it is my belief that high blood pressure among Black/African Americans has to do with more than healthy eating, physical activity, and salt sensitivity. High blood pressure among our people has to do with our daily struggles of being Black in America and living in a racialized society. Navigating through the various forms of racism and discrimination elicits unnecessary chronic stress and literally chips away at our livelihood. And so while we can’t change the fact that God saw fit to bless us with chocolate, mahogany, caramel complexioned melinated skin (I mean why would you, BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL), we must learn to better cope with the racism and discrimination that we daily face.

Empowering individuals and communities to find various healthy ways to cope with the being Black in America is important. A people grounded in spirituality we often find our faith as an outlet to the daily stresses of being Black in America, through prayer and meditation. In addition to prayer and meditation, other forms of coping strategies include exercise, yoga, deep breathing exercises, etc. Our socials interactions with our family and friends who understand the struggle can serve an outlet and good social supports to help us reduce our stress. You can beat stress naturally through very simple strategies that are beneficial to your health and well-being.

Sister TribeBeing a fur-mommy to two small dogs, my personal favorite ways to beat the stress that comes with being Black in America include walking my dogs in the evening while taking a moment to appreciate the nights stars and moon (I am big time moon and star gazer).

Share some coping strategies that you’d recommend to keep our stress levels in check while being Black in America.

african americans, diabetes, health equity, public health

#BlackHealthMatters: Diabetes

POC FebruaryThis week is Black Health and Heritage and month. While we, black people within the diaspora have a very rich culture and heritage, it is important that we preserve not only our heritage but also our health. Unfortunately there are many preventable disparities that afflict the health of our people. Preventable being the operative word, there are lifestyle and behavior changes that we can make individually in our lives and within the lives of our community to ensure not only a rich heritage but a heritage of health.

Diabetes is an epidemic among the African American community.  Approximately 4.9 million non-Hispanic African Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. While socioeconomic factors such as income and the food environment influences the prevalence of  diabetes; we can do small things to prevent the risk of developing diabetes and better management of the disease. As health advocates we can empower members of our communities to prepare healthier culturally appropriate meals. My personal belief is that while we need to move more, we really need to focus on our eating behaviors. Soul food LoveContrary to popular belief healthy soul food cooking is not an oxymoron. We can still in the proverbial terms put our foot in grandma’s classic collard green recipes while reaping the nutritional benefits. Check out a few of my favorite recipe books catered to Black/African Americans that you can share with your community members or church congregations: The New Soul Food Cookbook for People with Diabetes; Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family, Vegan Soul Kitchen, or Caribbean Vegan (disclaimer: I am a vegan, hence the two vegan cook books).

How are you contributing toward reducing the risk and prevalence of diabetes among Black/African Americans?

health equity, Health News, ICYMI, public health, Social Justice, Uncategorized

ICYMI: #BlackMothersMatterToo

POC Health Matters ICYMI


January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, however with all the news surrounding poor maternal health among black women and how black women are 243% more  likely to die during childbirth and post childbirth than white women, I found it appropriate to focus this month’s inaugural POC Health Matters ICYMI on black maternal health. After learning about the death of Shalon Irving, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee’s death after giving birth to her daughter, my initial thoughts were that we just can’t seem to catch a break and how the American system seems so well designed to fail us in every aspect of our lives. Though appalled and quite frankly disgusted, the ingenious design of this “peculiar system” to continuously fail communities of color is the very reason why I chose a career in public health, what gave life to POC Health Matters, and what motivates me each and every day toward the improved health and well-being of our people and communities.

U.S. Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving’s Story Explains Why

In recent years, as high rates of maternal mortality in the U.S. have alarmed researchers, one statistic has been especially concerning. According to the CDC, black mothers in the Shalon Irving StoryIIU.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Put another way, a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. In a national study of five medical complications that are common causes of maternal death and injury, black women were two to three times more likely to die than white women who had the same condition.

That imbalance has persisted for decades, and in some places, it continues to grow. In New York City, for example, black mothers are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers, according to the most recent data; in 2001-2005, their risk of death was seven times higher. Researchers say that widening gap reflects a dramatic improvement for white women but not for blacks.

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