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    Welcome

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | July 26th, 2015

    Welcome

    I am sure that there are people who would wonder why I created a website? The answer is that of all the mediums of communication available, I felt that this was the most democratic. A lot more people have access to websites than they do newspapers, radios and televisions. This website exists for solely one purpose – disseminating information that will be helpful for anyone who needs the tools for healthy living. The need for this site became more urgent when I woke up from a dream that the health of women was improving. I could no longer stay on the sidelines, and limit my reach to just my patients alone. If this website helps just one additional person, it would be worth its weight in gold.

    This website is my reaction to what I found alarming with the release in April, which is the Minority Health Month of the report 30 years of Advancing Health Equity/The Heckler Report: A Force for Ending Health Disparity in America.  In 1983, Margaret Heckler, the Secretary of Health and Human Services at that time, commissioned a task force to investigate health disparity in the US with a view of identifying means to improving healthcare delivery to blacks and minorities.  The report outlined the areas of health disparity in America. Those areas included cancer, heart disease, chemical dependency, diabetes, homicide, suicide, unintentional injuries, and infant mortality. The final report was released in 1985. When I read the 1985 report this past April, it felt like it was recently written in 2015.  Yes, there were a lot of initiatives that came from the report. The Office of Minority Health was created in response to the report; however 30 years later, we are still grappling with the same issues. Health equity is still elusive and still does not exist.

    There are those who may argue that this is limited to the poor or to those that are marginalized in society. I beg to differ. I would argue that a gap exists in health care that transcends socioeconomic status, ethnicity and education and is purely based on the color of one’s skin. Reducing or eliminating the gap requires vigilance and awareness, and more importantly becoming educated about oneself and the health challenges we face. The recognition of the problem is the reason for this website. And providing information that educates those who wish to do something about it is my task. The website is my contribution.

    This website is not meant to be exclusive. It is important to say that it is for all women, but we will focus of health issues that affect black women.  First, you have to know what the issues are and then we need to figure out ways to make a difference. I truly believe we cannot begin to make a difference until we are willing to make ourselves better. We are willing to those things to keep us healthy. We are willing to educate ourselves on keeping ourselves in good health. Can we prevent all illnesses? No, but I know from personal experience that even if we are diagnosed with an illness, if we go into it in optimal health, we have a better chance (I will talk about that in a future blog). This website is meant to educate and empower.

    The information available on this website is not meant as a substitute for your physician. The information provided here should help facilitate your interaction with your doctor or doctors, make you a better health advocate for yourself and those that are important to you, and get a good value for your healthcare dollars. I want you just to be aware of what is available. For example, if you are over 30 years old and getting a pap smear, you want to make sure that your physician is ordering a human papillomavirus test (HPV) with the pap smear. If your doctor did not order that test, I want you to be empowered to ask questions, not necessarily to challenge your physician but to find out why it may not have been done. It might even prompt you to get a second opinion.

    I am excited about this website. I hope you are as well. It is new and will evolve over time. And you have a role to play in it becoming a vital resource. Please do not hesitate to provide us with feedback about how you believe we can improve this space to better meet its primary mission of reducing health disparity through educating and empowering women.  My hope is that if you find some nugget of information that helps you, you will share the information with other women. Our family can only get stronger and healthier.  When the information does not directly impact you, at least you will have the knowledge and that might be useful to someone you know.

    I believe that we all need to be part of the solution in closing the gap and improving the health care of all. We might not be able to change all the issues within the system. However, by focusing on those things that we can change, maybe we will get closer to health equity. Thank you.

    3 Responses to “Welcome”

    1. Nkiruka Aniagolu says:

      As a pre-medical student I am very excited by what this website has to offer. I am passionate about bridging the health disparity gap of minorities, I myself am a minority, and I am a woman. What better way to continue my passion for female health than to engage in the discussion directly and begin practicing healthy lifestyle choices myself. This website can easily become a site women go to daily or as often as some frequent Facebook, Google, or their email. Once again I am extremely excited about this proactive step in empowering women to focus on their health and wellness from a holistic and genuine place of concern!

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        Thanks Nkiruka for your kind comments. One day you will make a very fine doctor. I am glad we can work together towards eliminating health disparity. Let us educate and empower women.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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