Meet The Team
As a family physician, I see the cascade of downstream effects of unhealthy living every day in many patients.
Never mind the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco which is all too common but the biggest driver of ill health in the majority of the population in the USA is an unhealthy weight gain. This happens quite slowly, usually over many years of middle age, but I am seeing this more and more in even teenagers.
The CDC has been keeping track of the rates of overweight and obesity in each state and the whole country and the picture is not good.
The current rate of overweight and obesity combined is over 66 percent nationally.
The rate of overweight or obesity is dangerously high in African Americans (82% in women, 69% in men) due to a multitude of historical, cultural and environmental factors.
Since this general problem causes a cascade of multiple metabolic maladies over the years including hypertension, diabetes(type 2), hyperlipidemia, increased risk of many common cancers(colon, breast, prostate) and premature risk of arthritis, we have to take immediate action at the national, state, and community level.
Complex problems will need a multi-pronged approach to reduce this calamity in our nation.
We have to mitigate this with health education at the individual and community level, inoculate each individual such that they do not get exploited with the profit minded plethora of seemingly innocuous enticing advertisements for junk food, motivate or nudge all to engage in regular and healthy amount of exercise in order to get to and maintain their best potential health. We have to have partners at the level of all health care institutions, all those working in the health care field, and also raise the political will to accomplish this at the state and federal level to take positive steps.
“You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there.” A quote by Maya Angelou that poetically illustrates we are all a collection of our experiences. Health is more than just eating right, but it is also the stress our bodies must endure to survive every day. The stress that manifests can come from worrying about finding healthy, affordable food options in your neighborhood; having the income to cover your bills and other expenses including health care; or dealing with racism, sexism, genderism, Islamophobia, and/or heterosexism on a personal, cultural and institutional level. Eating healthy and genetics play a large role in health, however, they are not the only factors that matter. Health is influenced by our lived social experience, meaning our social identity, socioeconomic resources and environment can contribute to differences in health outcomes.
As the Health Equity and Policy Specialist, I am responsible for identifying the social and economic stressors– known as social determinants of health – that affect the health of our patients then find tangible strategies Talk Health with Frankie can implement to address those issues on a personal, cultural, and institutional level. Our goal at Talk Health with Frankie is to irradiate preventative lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, using a multipronged approach to target personal, cultural, and policy barriers that impact health and wellness. We plan to do this by partnering with local organizations to provide our patients with resources such as exercise equipment or safe work out spaces, participating in committee meetings and workshops held by the Partnership for a Healthy Durham and Durham County Department of Public Health, and engaging with Durhamites at community events.
I’ve called Durham home for the past three years and I am proud and honored to serve the residents of “City of Medicine,” which I know Talk Health with Frankie will transform into the “City of Health.”
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Education: Central Piedmont Community College, AS; NC State University, BS Biological Sciences; Duke University Graduate School, MA Bioethics and Science Policy