‘The White Dress Project’ Creates EmPOWERment Experience For Black Women With Fibroids

‘The White Dress Project’ Creates EmPOWERment Experience For Black Women With Fibroids

Award-winning journalist, educator, and non-profit founder Tanika Gray Valbrun advocates for women with fibroids, a mission that stemmed from her personal journey with uterine fibroids, including undergoing two myomectomies.

These experiences have catalyzed her advocacy work and have led her to establish The White Dress Project (TWDP), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women with fibroids and raising awareness about this condition.

Valbrun’s work has included collaborations with doctors, health advocates, and elected officials to achieve significant milestones such as the designation of July as “Fibroids Awareness Month.”

With statistics that reflect the significant impact of fibroids on the lives of over 26 million women worldwide, with 80% of Black women being affected, the patient advocate shared her mission to empower women to be their own health advocates.

The White Dress Project

The White Dress Project is a global initiative to raise awareness about uterine fibroids. The non-profit has built a community strong in education, resources, and advocacy to make an impact in the lives of those affected by the condition.

“As a non-profit organization driven by women who have experienced the profound journey of living with fibroids, we possess a unique perspective that allows us to educate, empower, and support individuals on their own fibroid journeys,” Valbrun tells BLACK ENTERPRISE

Women’s health concerns are at the forefront of TWDP’s expert advisory council of healthcare professionals. TWDP provides accessible treatment options from dedicated research.

“The symbol of the white dress represents more than just a fashion statement; it embodies hope and resilience for those impacted by fibroids, a reminder that together we will discover a cure,” she says. “By fostering consistent discussions about fibroids, we strive to combat the isolation and loneliness often felt by women with this condition. We aim to create a supportive community where individuals can seek help, share their stories, and find strength in the knowledge that they are not alone in their struggles.”

The EmPOWERment Experience

The White Dress Project will host its EmPOWERment Experience from July 14-16, 2023, in Washington, D.C. The three-day event opens up a space to address fibroids through storytelling, education, and community-building.

“Our goal is to leave attendees feeling empowered, informed, and motivated to advocate for their health and fibroid awareness. Through engaging with medical professionals, advocates, and fellow fibroid warriors, attendees gain valuable insights, support, and strategies to navigate their journey,” Valbrun says.

Bridging the gap between patients of color and doctors

Conversations around fibroid awareness avoid spreading misconceptions and misinformation.

“Through these discussions, we promote better understanding among the public, healthcare providers, and policymakers, ultimately leading to improved support, resources, and empathy for women affected by fibroids,” Valbrun explains.

The White Dress Project is committed to bridging the gap between patients of color and doctors by creating educational platforms and initiatives that foster understanding, empowerment, and access to care.

“We understand the importance of representation in healthcare, which is why we actively work toward highlighting physicians of color through our physician directories,” says Valbrun, noting the non-profit’s comprehensive list of healthcare professionals who share a cultural background. TWDP provides accurate and up-to-date information about fibroid treatment options.

TWDP hosts webinars and workshops to equip individuals with accurate knowledge to make informed decisions regarding their health.

“Addressing health disparities and medical gaslighting, particularly within the Black community, is crucial in the context of uterine fibroids as they disproportionately impact Black women,” Valbrun says. “It is imperative for healthcare providers and community leaders to engage in open and informed discussions about fibroid symptoms with Black women. By recognizing and validating their experiences, we can combat the harmful effects of medical gaslighting and ensure that their concerns are taken seriously.”

By considering cultural factors and adopting a holistic approach, providers can deliver “personalized and effective care, reducing the burden of fibroids on the Black community.”

Get involved to help support women with fibroids

“Fibroids can take a toll on both physical and emotional well-being, and having a network of understanding individuals who can provide comfort, guidance, and a listening ear is paramount. That’s why at The White Dress Project, we prioritize fostering a community that offers compassion, shared experiences, and resources for empowerment,” Valbrun says

The community can get involved and help raise awareness by staying connected through The White Dress Project, spreading the word, volunteering, donating and fundraising, and sharing personal experiences or stories of their story or someone else affected by fibroids.

“By sharing your experience, you contribute to the collective narrative, inspire others, and help raise awareness about the impact of fibroids,” Valbrun said.