#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.

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.

Continue reading