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How black pharmacists close the cultural gap in health care



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

5 years, did not feel heard by his medical office.

"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.


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