Morehouse Doctor Talks Health Disparities, Prevention

Youth awareness, education vital in stopping spread of diseases

students. Some colleges, especially HBCUs, may have summer programs for kids starting in middle school. Oftentimes, if one looks on a Website or calls the local college or medical school, they will be able to get info. In addition, it is important for colleges and medical schools to have collaborations with schools where they interact with students on a regular basis to expose them to the sciences.

As the costs of healthcare and insurance coverage rise, how do you spread a message of awareness and the importance of regular doctor visits  to communities struggling to pay the bare minimum of everyday expenses?

I tell people it is easier to stay healthy than to recover from illness. The cost of healthcare is rising and that is why it is even more important to use preventive measures and increase awareness of primary prevention. It is important to apply for grants to offset and supplement some of the costs but it will be even better when we get our healthcare system overhauled and have something that is better than what we have now.

What specific healthcare issues and initiatives do you think President-elect Barack Obama and his administration should most focus his efforts toward addressing and implementing?

Health disparities.  It is amazing the health disparities in the U.S.  When you look at African Americans, we have higher rates of diseases that are the cause of death than other races and ethnicities. I specialize in adolescents/young adults, so my focus is particularly on diseases that affect that population, including sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV; mental health, such as depression and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); and reproductive healthcare. I believe if we can focus on our young people and provide them with excellent health education and teach them better health habits before they begin bad habits, it will go a long way.

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