After a health insurance change, Bernard Macon forced to link with his black doctor, he struggled to find another African American doctor online. Then he realized that two health campaigns hid in clear vision.
At a nearby pharmacy here in the suburbs outside St. Louis, a couple of pharmacists became the unexpected allies Macon and his wife Brandy. Like Macons, the pharmacists were energetic young parents who were married – and unapologically black.
Vincent and Lekeisha Williams, owner of LV Health and Wellness Pharmacy, did not hesitate to help when Brandy had difficulty getting the medicine she needed before and after sinus surgery last year. Williams spoke when Brandy, a medical assistant who worked in the medical field for 1
"They went completely," said Bernard Macon, 36, a computer programmer and father of two. "They did what could have been a bad experience for a good experience."
More than ever, Macons is investing in black medical staff to give the family better care. The Macon children see a black pediatrician. A black dentist takes care of his teeth. Brandy Macon is dependent on a black gynecologist. And now the two black pharmacists fill the gap for Bernard Macon while he is looking for a primary care physician in his network, giving him trusted trust that chain pharmacies probably wouldn't.
Black Americans continue to face enduring healthcare contexts. Compared to their white counterparts, black men and women are more likely to die from heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza, pneumonia, diabetes and AIDS, according to the mini-health care system.
However, doctors who provide patients with culturally competent care – the task of recognizing the patient's heritage, beliefs and values during treatment – often see improved patient results, according to several studies. Part of it is trust and understanding, and some of it can be more nuanced knowledge about the medical conditions that can become more prevalent in these populations.
For patients, one can find a way to identify with the pharmacist to pay off big time. Cuts in half, jumping doses or not taking medications altogether can damage your health – even fatal. And many patients see their pharmacists every month, far more often than annual visits to their doctors, which creates more opportunities for supportive care.
Therefore, some black pharmacists find ways to connect with customers in and outside their stores. Inspiring music, advice, accessibility and openness have made some minority-owned pharmacies into hubs for culturally competent care.
"We understand society because we are part of society, "says Lekeisha Williams." We are visible in our area by performing missions, participating in events and promoting health and well-being. "
Certainly, such care is not only relevant to African Americans, but the suspicion of medical profession is particularly an obstacle to overcome when treating black Americans.
Many are still shaken by Henrietta Lack's story, whose cells were used in research all over the world without her family's knowledge. The Tuskegee Project, which failed to treat black men with syphilis, and other projects that used African Americans Unethical for Research
Fills More Than Recipes
At Black-owned Premier Pharmacy and Wellness Center near G rier Heights, a historic black neighborhood in Charlotte, NC, the playlist is almost as important as the emergency care clinic attached to the pharmacy. Owner Martez Prince looks at his customers shimmy along the aisles as they walk through the store listening to Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kirk Franklin, Whitney Houston and other black artists.
Prince said the music helps him in his goal of making health care more accessible and providing medical advice that patients can rely on.
Teresa Mitchell, a black woman with 25 years of experience in pharmacy, connects her clients with home appliances, shows them how to access insurance services online and even makes house calls. Her Total Care Pharmacy is the only healthcare provider in Baconton, where about half of the city's 900 residents are black.
"We do more than just abstain," said Mitchell.
Iradean Bradley, 72, soon became a customer after Total Care Pharmacy opened in 2016. She struggled to get prescriptions before Mitchell came to town.
"It was so hectic because I didn't have my own transport," Bradley said. "It is so convenient for us older people who have to pay someone to get out of town and get our medicine."
Lakesha M. Butler, chairman of the National Pharmaceutical Association, advocates such culturally competent care through the professional organization representing minorities in the pharmacy industry and studying it in his academic work at the Edwardsville campus at Southern Illinois University. She also knows her impact directly, she said when she sees patients at clinics two days a week in St. Charles, Mo. and East St. Louis, Ill.
"It's just great for me when I practice in a clinical setting and an African American patient sees me," said Butler. "It's a pure joy that comes across their face, a relief sigh. It's like" OK, I'm glad you're here because I can be honest with you and I know you're going to be honest with me. ""
She often finds that she is training her black patients on diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other common diseases.
"Unfortunately, there is still a lack of knowledge in these areas," Butler said. "Therefore, these conditions can be so common."
Avoid Medical Microaggregations
For Macon, his experience of medical staff with different backgrounds than his own people repeatedly and doubtfully left open.
After his wife had a miscarriage, Macon said, the couple did not get the compassion they longed for while cheating the loss. A few years later, a bad experience with the children's pediatrician got when their oldest child had a painful ear infection given a move to another supplier.
"My daughter needed attention immediately, but we couldn't get through anyone," Macon recalled. "That's when my wife said," We're no longer doing it! ""
Today, Macon's idea of good care is not color-blind. If a doctor cannot give empathy and expert treatment, he is ready to move, even if a replacement is difficult to find.
Kimberly Wilson, 31, will soon launch an app for consumers like Macon who are looking for culturally competent care. Therapists, doulas, dentists, specialists and even pharmacists will be asked to list their services at HUED. Beta testing is expected to start this summer in New York City and Washington, D.C., and the app will be free to consumers.
"Black Americans are more aware of their health from many different perspectives," Wilson said. "We have started to move forward."
But even after the introduction of HUED, such health care can be difficult to find. While about 13% of the American population is black, only about 6% of the country's doctors and surgeons are black, according to Data USA. Black pharmacists make up about 7% of the professionals in their field and, although demand is high, black students accounted for about 9% of all students who were part of the pharmacy school in 2018.
For Macon, LV Health and Wellness Pharmacy in Shiloh gives part of the support he has sought.
"I still remember the very first day I went there. It was almost like a hairdresser feel," says Macon, similar to the community hubs where customers can chitchat about sports, family and beliefs while cutting their hair. could relate to who was behind the counter. "
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Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.