Why did you choose the healthcare profession and how long have you been in this field?
Although I am not a healthcare professional, I chose to work for the AHEC (Alabama Health Education Center) because AHEC’s mission focuses on recruiting, training, and retraining healthcare professionals in medically underserved and economically disadvantaged communities. As the ED of the organization, my main focus also includes public health concerns. For example, West Central Alabama AHEC was recently awarded another one million dollars to focus on the opioid crisis in the black belt.
What does healthy living mean to you?
Healthy living for me includes exercise as a main part of my routine. Also, including in the diet healthy foods such as vegetables and fish are also important for a healthier lifestyle. Regular checkups such as annual visits to the doctor are necessary, too.
Do you feel the healthcare system sees you, knows you, and cares for you?
No, I do not feel that the healthcare system sees, knows, or cares about me. However, I have found that if I choose African American doctors or doctors who truly understand the African American community, I receive better care. For example, my primary doctor is African American, and she takes an active interest in my health and well-being. She follows up regarding any health concerns.
What would you like to see differently in healthcare as it relates to people of color or women?
I would like to see more doctors who understand the African American community and its distrust of the healthcare system. I would like to see more doctors who really care about our communities and who will fight for funding in our areas that will focus on the population health challenges.