By: Leticia Vaca
You may have noticed that every month there is a National Something Month here in the U.S.. My personal favorites are “ National Donut Day'' and “ National Taco Day” celebrating some of the tastiest foods and desserts. It’s fun...and encourages me to go out for a donut or a few tacos.
On the other hand, National days and months of recognition are designed to bring awareness to a serious concern.
April is National Minority Health Month.
It is not our goal to try to capture as many health related days of recognition as possible to fill our social media feeds, but rather highlight how Urban Health Group is actively involved in these concerns year around.
There is a frequent debate on how to label groups of people that are not white: “ minorities”, “poc”, and now “ bipoc” in academia and professional arenas. Rule of thumb, It is always best to ask people directly how they identify. I personally do not use the word minorities. I prefer to use "Black, Indigenous, People of Color (B.I.P.O.C.)" when referring to non-white groups of people; unless otherwise, I am referring to a specific group.
Urban Health Group celebrates and champions the unique health and mental health needs
of Black, Indigenous, People of Color EVERY month.
How did National Minority Health Month come about?
CDC's Office of Minority Health & Health Equity (OMHHE) explains that “health equity” is when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. It also forces us to explore the differences in health outcomes and their causes among groups of people. For example, African American children are more likely to die from asthma compared to non-Hispanic white children. Reducing health disparities creates better health for all Americans.
Why is Health Equity Important?
Your health includes our physical health, emotional health, and social support within your community. Health equity is closely tied to your quality life and most visible in where you can live, learn, work, and play.
Urban Health Group was formed with the core value that everyone deserves quality care. We provide a bridge between healthcare navigation and mental health support.
Who we are:
Urban Health Group (UHG) is a boutique-style, concierge for healthcare navigation and mental health support based in Oakland, California. We empower Black Indigenous People of Color (B.I.P.O.C.) with tools and support to effectively navigate their health and mental health needs for better wellness. We are eliminating healthcare disparities and reducing healthcare biases head on through strategic partnerships.
Who is the Founder?
I am the Founder and CEO of Urban Health Group LLC and Bay Area Native. I am multicultural: Black, Mexican, 1st Generation America (family by way of Michoacán, Mexico) , and with Southern lineage ( family by way of Marietta, Georgia). Like a growing number of families across the United States, I have personal experience with my family confronting the challenges of mental illness, substance abuse and physical ailments. Witnessing the disconnect and experience the stress of the entire hospital experience, and ultimately their untimely passing; I became a Medical Social Worker in a Trauma Center--where I’ve helped over 6000 people in a crisis. I am also a Trauma Therapist, Co-Owner of Urban Catalyst Psychotherapy.
Why I care about B.I.P.O.C. Health?
During my ER, ICU, acute care days of medical social working, I recognized there was a salient difference in the delivery of treatment for care and preparedness of families to assert their needs for non-white families vs whites families. I spent a lot of time brokering with patients and their families and medical providers for care for non-white patients and families; while I noticed that whites patients and families rarely needed this level of brokering; and the delivery of care from medical providers was different, more pleasant. Well I know through my education and from first hand experience, how healthcare biases negatively impact the care experience for Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Admittedly, I am impatient about the changes within healthcare systems towards providing equitable care for all. I want folks to be the center of their health and care needs RIGHT NOW; not systems and providers. More work is needed outside of the hospital walls. As a medical social worker and therapist, I have made it my mission to educate and empower people to plan for medical emergencies.
Urban Health Group differentiates itself within the industry as it is designed specifically to service B.I.P.O.C. by highly trained B.I.P.O.C. professionals in a preventive and proactive manner. It is a small, boutique company that has the capacity to address the unique needs of B.I.P.O.C.. Our approach includes a social justice awareness around issues of intergenerational and racial trauma impact on health; and an awareness of historical and current experience of oppression when interfacing healthcare systems.
Our Mission is to Empower Black, Indigenous, People of Color ( B.I.P.O.C.) with tools and support to effectively navigate their health and mental health needs for better wellness.
Our Vision is to eliminate healthcare disparities and reduce healthcare biases for Black, Indigenous, People of Color. We address healthcare biases head on through strategic partnerships.
What can you do for National Minority Health Month?
“Without health and long life, all else fails.”
– Dr. Booker T. Washington