Know Your Girls campaign encourages black women to understand breast cancer risks

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Actress and breast cancer survivor Vanessa Bell Calloway lends her voice to public service announcements

Actress and breast cancer survivor Vanessa Bell Calloway knows how important it is to get the word out about breast health.

In 2016, she shared her story of survival on Ebony.com. She caught the disease early, opted for a mastectomy and she’s been cancer-free since.

Now Calloway has teamed up with the Susan G. Komen organization and the Ad Council for a national campaign, Know Your Girls. Her role includes a voice-over for the campaign’s video public service announcements.

“I’m so happy to be a part of this important campaign because as a breast cancer survivor, I understand firsthand how important it is to know your girls literally and figuratively. Being in tuned with your girls can save your life. Know Your Girls can also mean know your real-life girlfriends and as a community of women help remind each other about the importance of breast health,” said Calloway.

The Know Your Girls announcements include singer Alicia Keys’ hit song “You Don’t Know My Name.” Other featured celebrities include celebrity stylist June Ambrose, actress and comedian Regina Hall, E! News co-anchor Zuri Hall, 2 Dope Queens co-creator and actress Jessica Williams, singer-songwriter, producer and actress Michelle Williams, and comedian and actress Kym Whitley; as well as digital creators Black Moms Blog, Ebony from Team2Moms, Glamtwinz: Kelsey and Kendra Murrell, Jade Kendle, Tianne King, Megan “Megz” Lytle and Jayla Watson.

The campaign is a response to dismal numbers concerning black women. Black women in the U.S. are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, according to the Ad Council. A recent study found that while 92 percent of black women agree breast health is important, only 25 percent have recently discussed breast health with their family, friends, or colleagues and only 17 percent have taken steps to understand their risk for breast cancer.

Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, at later stages of the disease, and with more aggressive forms of the disease, which limits the options for treatment. The Know Your Girls campaign encourages black women between the ages of 30 and 55 to treat their breasts with the same attentiveness and understanding they share with the women in their lives.

“The Know Your Girls campaign introduces breast cancer education through a celebration of the powerful sisterhood between black women,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Instead of focusing on fear, the campaign provides tools and information that can help black women feel ownership around their breast health and encourages the sharing of those resources and messages with the women who support them throughout their lives.”

Besides the digital announcements, the campaign includes TV, radio, print and out-of-home ads that direct women to KnowYourGirls.org. The website features resources that help women navigate breast cancer risk factors, recognize changes in their breasts, and how to prepare to have a conversation with a doctor.

Continue onto FastCompany to read the complete article.

Why Black women face disproportionate rates of breast cancer

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Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awarness Month

By Maura Hohman

The day before she turned 30 and had planned to leave for a celebratory vacation, Sharonda Vincent felt a lump on her left breast while in the shower.

She scheduled a last-minute appointment with a doctor at Planned Parenthood, who told her to enjoy her trip because she doubted it was cancerous.

After Vincent returned home to Philadelphia, the mother of one decided to see her primary care provider, just in case. This led to a series of tests, including a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. In the summer of 2005, she was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer.

“I was numb, hurt, confused, upset, questioning God,” she told TODAY. “It was a complete shock.”

Vincent, now 45, has been cancer-free for 15 years, thanks to the surgery, chemo and radiation she underwent that summer. She’s among the millions of Black women who’ve survived breast cancer, even though the odds are unjustly stacked against them.

Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Black women are also more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage or at a younger age. Death rates for white women with breast cancer are improving more rapidly than for Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research into the reason for these disparities is ongoing, but it’s likely “multifactorial,” Dr. Vivian Bea, chief of breast surgical oncology at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, told TODAY.

What’s more, Bea expects breast cancer outcomes for Black women to only get worse due to COVID-19. A recent survey, conducted by the cancer information platform SurvivorNet, found that 1 in 3 women has delayed getting a mammogram because of the coronavirus.

A doctor who looks like you

As a physician and Black woman, Bea believes that a main inhibitor for the Black community to seeking health care is the absence of doctors who can relate to their life experiences. Only 5 percent of U.S. doctors are Black, and even fewer are Black women, per 2018 data.

“When I take care of my Black patients … I can’t tell you how often I hear, ‘I trust you because you look like me,” she said. “I hear stories of, ‘I talked to this doctor, and I told them I had a mass, and they told me it was nothing,’ or ‘I had a pain, and they said it was in my head.’ Unfortunately (Black) women are sometimes not taken seriously.”

While Vincent doesn’t feel her care team approached her differently because of her race, she said she leaned heavily on the only Black medical professional she encountered during her treatment.

In Vincent’s initial appointments, she recalled, staff struggled to draw her blood, and she had to be pricked by multiple techs each time, especially uncomfortable given her fear of needles. So the Black medical assistant planned her future visits so the one tech who could draw Vincent’s blood on the first try was always available.

“She made it a point to really get close to me,” Vincent said. “It was almost like she rode this journey with me. She wanted to make sure I felt comfortable in the office. … It made a big difference.”

Suffering in silence

Shortly after Vincent was diagnosed, she found out her grandmother was going through radiation, the last leg of her own breast cancer treatment, but had never told anyone before.

“As close as we are, my grandmother didn’t want to make it too known, so when she learned of my diagnosis, she felt she needed to be that shoulder for me,” Vincent recalled. “We shared stories, and I actually used her surgeon.”

Vincent suspects that her grandmother’s approach is common among Black women. “People in Black families probably feel like, ‘We have so much other stuff to worry about, let’s not bog the family down with this news,'” she said.

Bea pointed out that she often hears Black women say, “I never had cancer in my family, so I’ll never get breast cancer,” but that’s “totally not true,” she stressed.

Tracy Tomer, diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer in January, told TODAY that hearing from other Black women in her Brooklyn neighborhood that they had breast cancer was a revelation of sorts.

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

This story originally ran on Today.com.

Supporting Mental Health During These Times

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The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful—it can be difficult to cope with fear and anxiety, changing daily routines, and a general sense of uncertainty.

Although people respond to stressful situations in different ways, taking steps to care for yourself and your family can help you manage stress.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Things You Can Do to Support Yourself

Take breaks from the news. Set aside periods of time each day during which you close your news and social media feeds and turn off the TV. Give yourself some time and space to think about and focus on other things.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat regular, well-balanced meals; get some physical activity every day; give yourself time to get a full night’s sleep; and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind. Try to engage in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Engaging in these activities offers an important outlet for pleasure, fun, and creativity.

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Digital tools can help keep you stay connected with friends, family, and neighbors when you aren’t able to see them in person.

Set goals and priorities. Decide what must get done today and what can wait. Priorities may shift to reflect changes in schedules and routines, and that is okay. Recognize what you have accomplished at the end of the day.

Focus on the facts. Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
Source: nimh.nih.gov

NAACP President Helps Black Communities Enduring COVID-19

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Derrick Johnson President NAACP wearing a suit and tie pictured sitting behind desk

Derrick Johnson is the President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Johnson previously served as the vice chairman of the NAACP’s national board of directors, as well as the president of the Mississippi state chapter of the NAACP.

Johnson is a veteran activist who has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. As State President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. He successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, MS that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million towards the construction of a new convention center, respectively. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Mr. Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.

Black EOE Journal had the chance to talk with Johnson about his views on COVID-19 and its effects on African-American communities.

BEOEJ: In your opinion, how is the black community handling the pandemic? Have you seen that more African Americans are seeing more underlying conditions from the effects of COVID-19?

Johnson: The Black community is facing the brunt of this pandemic. When we get infected with the COVID-19 virus, we are more likely to die from it due to underlying conditions. Unfortunately, African Americans have higher rates and earlier onset of both chronic conditions and disability than white Americans, as well as less access to high-quality health care for those conditions.

BEOEJ: How have you been helping African Americans facing the brunt of this pandemic?

Johnson: What we’ve heard from many of the people we’ve spoken with or assisted during this time is the lack of clear, concise, reliable information has caused confusion and fear. Information during times of crisis can be the saving grace for so many people. The NAACP has provided countless individuals with access to information through our Virtual Town Halls series in conjunction with BET. We invited congressional leaders, policy and health experts, as well as wellness leaders, who presented a great deal of comfort, support and answers to pressing questions regarding COVID-19.

BEOEJ: Are there areas that are harder hit with the virus? Are you seeing any improvement in other areas?

Johnson: The areas hit the hardest with the virus are counties in places like Michigan, New York, California, with predominantly people of color and Black populations. While we see a flattening of the curve in places like New York, we must recognize that we have not eradicated the virus, nor have we created a cure for it. With that in mind, operating with caution should still be a priority for all people, particularly Black Americans. We can’t afford to prolong recovery efforts by going about business as usual.

BEOEJ: What other issues is this pandemic causing, i.e., unemployment. Is this worse for the African-American community than others?

Johnson: Aside from the health crisis COVID-19 is causing, we are also witnessing a calamitous disaster across the economy, and subsequently, unemployment rates are skyrocketing. We know that Black unemployment has always been as twice as high as White unemployment. This virus is creating a compounding effect and raising unemployment for our community even higher.

BEOEJ: Are there efforts being put in place specifically for African Americans?

Johnson: The stimulus packages are providing relief for some, not all. However, we need a stimulus geared directly toward the Black community hit the hardest by this pandemic. This pandemic has only worked to stifle our community’s social and economic progress. We need a stimulus package that provides self-employed and gig workers access to benefits as well.

World Leaders, Stars Raise $7 Billion at Event Aimed at Fighting Virus

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The Rock pictured smiling wearing a suit at a premiere event

The event included a Dwayne Johnson-hosted concert with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Chloe x Halle

A summit that included a star-studded virtual concert hosted by Dwayne Johnson has raised nearly $7 billion in cash and loan guarantees to assist the poor around the globe whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Global Citizen said its summit with world leaders had raised $1.5 billion to help COVID-19 efforts in poor countries, along with a promise of 250 million doses of a vaccine for those nations if one is successfully developed.

The group said it had secured $5.4 billion in loans and guarantees from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to support fragile economies worldwide.

The event included a Johnson-hosted concert with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Chloe x Halle. Cyrus performed The Beatles’ “Help!” in an empty stadium and Hudson performed “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” from a boat in Chicago.

“The $6.9 billion that was pledged today to support the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities is an incredible next step on our journey out of the COVID-19 era, but there is more still to be done, as no one is safe until everyone is safe,” Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, said after the event Saturday.

“As we fight this virus, we also need to take care of the most vulnerable people and address the challenges they’re facing right now,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the event.

Speakers also included the leaders of New Zealand, El Salvador, Sweden, South Africa and Barbados.

Organizers said the show was not just a fundraiser, but aimed to draw awareness to the disproportionate impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on marginalized communities.

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

This Rapper is Joining the Fight for Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention

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Waka Flocka posing at a press event

On the evening of May 25, near the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, rapper Waka Flocka tweeted that he was going to dedicate his life to suicide prevention and mental illness. This tweet likely stemmed from the reminder of his deceased brother’s upcoming birthday, which would happen less than a week later.

The rapper tweeted his support by saying, “I’m officially dedicating my life to suicide prevention and mental illness!!! Y’all not alone Waka Flocka Flame is with y’all now!!!!”

In 2017, Waka Flocka revealed in an interview with the show The Therapist that his younger brother committed suicide in 2013. In this interview, he stated that his brother, Coades, tried to call him before taking his life, leaving Waka Flocka to wonder what would have happened if he picked up the phone.

While the specifics of what the renowned rapper will do is unknown at the moment, Waka Flocka has made his goals clear, stating in a follow-up tweet that he has officially accepted his brother’s passing and believes he is now in a better place.

Waka Flocka stated, “You have no idea how it feel to wanna take your own life man…my little brother took his own life…This year I’m officially accepting the fact that he’s in a better place.”

Unique Ways to Thank your Essential Workers

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Thank You to Essential Workers in Fight Against Covid-19

From doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks and pharmacists, our essential workers are showing up every day to keep us safe and healthy during this time.

We are so thankful for each and every one of these workers, but how can we better show our gratitude and encourage them along the way? Here are four unique ways you can thank our essential workers.

1) Make a Sign

This is a relatively easy one that can be done by the whole family. Create a sign to hang from your window, car, or front yard that can be easily seen by essential workers driving or walking by your home. This little sign of encouragement shows they are being appreciated, even when we cannot personally thank every single one of them.

2) Support Their Families

During this time, essential workers are often working longer hours, and many are unable to be fully present for their families during this time. Check up on the families of essential workers in your life, and see what you can do to help. Delivering groceries, making a meal, or simply being a good listener can help ease the stress of the families who are struggling with the new lifestyle of their essential loved one.

3) Feed the Frontlines

Especially for medical professionals working long hours, getting a proper meal may be the last thing on their mind while trying to help others. Ordering food to be delivered to local hospitals, firehouses, grocery stores, and other essential businesses will not only show them your appreciation but could also ease their especially stressful work day. Ordering food will also help restaurants stay in business!

4) Stay at Home

The best way to show respect for those who are working so hard to keep us safe is to adhere to their wishes and stay inside. Washing our hands, keeping ourselves healthy, and social distancing are just a few of the ways that we can all slow the spread of the virus and speed up the process of bringing our essential workers home sooner.

‘Atlanta Angel’ Tyler Perry Paid For Seniors’ Groceries At More Than 70 Stores

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Tyler-Perry-pays-seniors-groceries

The actor, writer and director purchased goods for elderly shoppers at 44 Kroger stores in Atlanta and 29 Winn-Dixie stores in Louisiana.

Tyler Perry just made the lives of a lot of people in Georgia and Louisiana easier during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 50-year-old movie mogul purchased the groceries for certain shoppers at 44 Kroger stores in Atlanta and 29 Winn-Dixie stores in Louisiana. Perry’s generosity covered the hauls of elderly people shopping during the hour reserved for them amid the global health crisis.

Perry currently lives in Atlanta and grew up in New Orleans. The receipts for those whose groceries were paid for were reportedly signed “Atlanta Angel.”

Elderly and immunocompromised people are at high risk for serious complications from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so many grocery stores have announced in the last few weeks that they’d be blocking off the first hour or two of the business day for people 60 and older to shop.

Felix Turner, manager of corporate affairs for Kroger’s Atlanta division, said in a statement to HuffPost: “We would like to join our customers in thanking Mr. Perry for his kindness and generosity during this unprecedented pandemic. It was truly a pleasure to see our customers fill with joy and gratitude as the news spread throughout 44 stores across Metro Atlanta.”

Winn-Dixie tweeted a statement on Wednesday thanking Perry for “paying it forward by purchasing groceries for elderly and high-risk [Winn-Dixie] customers shopping at Louisiana stores this morning.”

Continue on to Huffington Post to read the complete article.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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woman dressed in pink holding a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness month

Breast cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of finding breast cancer early. Make a difference!

Spread the word about mammograms, and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

How can National Breast Cancer Awareness Month make a difference?
We can use this opportunity to spread the word about taking steps to detect breast cancer early.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Ask doctors and nurses to speak to women about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.
  • Encourage women ages 40 to 49 to talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms.
  • Organize an event to talk with women ages 50 to 74 in your community about getting mammograms every 2 years.

The Affordable Care Act requires most health plans to cover mammograms for women over age 40. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get mammograms at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company to learn more.

Like all medical tests, mammograms have pros and cons. These pros and cons depend on your age and your risk for breast cancer. Use the questions below to start a conversation with your doctor about mammograms.
What do I ask the doctor?

Visiting the doctor can be stressful. It helps to have questions for the doctor written down ahead of time. Print this list of questions and take it with you to your next appointment. You may also want to ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes.

Do I have any risk factors that increase my chances of getting breast cancer?
-What will happen when I go to get mammograms?
-How long will it take to get the results of my mammograms?
-If I don’t hear back about the results of my mammograms, does that mean everything is okay?

If you are under age 50, you might want to ask:

-Should I start getting regular mammograms? If so, how often?
-What are the pros and cons of getting mammograms before age 50?

If you are age 50 to 74, you might want to ask:

-How often should I get mammograms?
-What are the pros and cons of getting mammograms every 2 years instead of every year?

Source: Healthfinder.gov

NFL Football Star Pays For 500 Mammograms to Honor His Mother

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DeAngelo Williams pictured with many women posing in pink t-shirts for the Breast Cancer Pink Camp

Former NFL running back DeAngelo Williams has paid for over 500 mammograms for women—because, to him, the issue is personal.

He always wore the color pink in his hair, which flowed out from his helmet, during his later years as a player for the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Pink is not a color—it’s a culture to me.”

He created the DeAngelo Williams Foundation in honor of his mother, Sandra Hill, who died of breast cancer in 2006. All four of her sisters then died from the same disease—all before the age of 50.

He originally chose to pay for 53 mammograms because his mom died at age 53. He called the project #53StrongforSandra.” Since then, they have paid for 500 mammogram screenings for under-insured women in four states—North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Arkansas, all states he has football ties in.

Continue on to The Good News Network to read the complete article.

Fearless Amputee Mama Cax Encourages Others to Face Anything

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Mama Cax walks walks with crutches on runway after having right leg amputated

By Hiliary Innerbichler

Mama Cax, born Cacsmy Brutus, was given only three weeks to live when she was diagnosed with bone (osteosarcoma) and lung cancer at 14 years old.

Now in her late 20s—and after having her right leg amputated due to an unsuccessful hip replacement following chemotherapy—the Haitian-American is an advocate who utilizes social media as a platform to talk about body positivity and to dismantle the image of what people with disabilities should look like.

“When I first started blogging, a lot of women amputees were messaging me about how they’d never seen an amputee on social media or anywhere showing their prosthetics,” she said in an interview with Teen Vogue. “I think it’s so important to show people who have physical disabilities because there are people out there who buy products and never see themselves represented in any way, shape, or form.”

In 2016, the blogger, advocate, motivational speaker and model was invited to the White House to walk in the first ever White House Fashion Show to celebrate inclusive design, assistive technology, and prosthetics.

Soon after, Cax was made one of the faces of Tommy Hilfiger’s adaptive line, and since then has made her debut walking the runway at New York Fashion week in designer Becca McCharen-Tran’s Spring 2019 show.

Mama Cax has now partnered with Olay in their new campaign #FaceAnything to encourage women to live fearlessly and to have the confidence to be unapologetically bold and true to themselves, according to health.com.

Source: Vogue.com, boredpanda.com, mamacax.com, health.com

The amazing CMO and CEO of Naturade/VeganSmart, a minority owned business

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Kareem Cook and Claude Tellis stand in front of the promotional truck parked in a parking lot

Kareem and Claude became friends while attending Duke University. Both having many family members who passed away from diet-related illnesses or suffered from diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related illnesses, they often discussed doing something to address this issue.

In 2002, Kareem and Claude moved to Los Angeles and immediately recognized the child obesity crisis and decided it was time to do something. They founded Healthy Body Products, a healthy vending machine company with the mission of providing healthier options to public schools. Within a year, they co-led a movement that resulted in a ban on junk food in the Los Angeles public schools. Within two years, they were awarded the contract for every public high school and middle school in Los Angeles.

From there, Kareem and Claude sought to make an even bigger impact on diet-related illness and obesity. The question that bothered them most was “Why do people who need quality products have the least access to them?

Which led them to Naturade. In 2012, they acquired Naturade, a premium level natural products company distributed primarily in natural food and product stores. In 2013, they met John Lewis, an internationally recognized vegan advocate and fitness expert.

John explained that the best way to prevent obesity, pre-diabetes and heart disease was a plant-based diet. Later that year, they partnered together and created VeganSmart. They distribute their product not only in premium health food stores but in local health food, drug stores and supermarkets that sold to the underserved, undereducated and low-income communities that are often ignored. Stores include CVS, Walgreens, Albertsons, Safeway, Meijer, H-E-B, Harris Teeter, Publix, Hannaford, Weis and thousands of stores nationwide.

Making Strides in Health Care—AMA elects its first African-American woman president

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Patrice A. Harris, MDposes outside the AMA

Atlanta-based psychiatrist Patrice A. Harris, MD, is the first black woman to become the American Medical Association’s (AMA) president. When Dr. Harris assumes her role in June this year, she will also be the Association’s first African-American female to hold that office.

“It will be my honor to represent the nation’s physicians at the forefront of discussions when policymaker and lawmakers search for practical solutions to the challenges in our nation’s health system. I am committed to preserving the central role of the physician-patient relationship in our healing art,” Dr. Harris said.

First elected to the AMA Board of Trustees in 2011, Dr. Harris has held the executive offices of AMA board secretary and AMA board chair. She will continue to serve as chair of the AMA Opioid Task Force and has been active on several other AMA task forces and committees on health information technology, payment and delivery reform, and private contracting. She has also chaired the influential AMA Council on Legislation and co-chaired the Women Physicians Congress.

Dr. Harris continues in private practice and consults with both public and private organizations on health service delivery and emerging trends in practice and health policy. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Source: wire.ama-assn.org

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