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Dec. 9, 2022

Understanding and Normalizing Family Medical History & Community Health

Understanding and Normalizing Family Medical History & Community Health

“When I talk about family history, I tell people to look at the people in their family. See what it is that bothers them. Why is that important? You contain somewhere between 40 to 70% of the genetic material of each of your parents. And it'll be in ...


“When I talk about family history, I tell people to look at the people in their family. See what it is that bothers them. Why is that important? You contain somewhere between 40 to 70% of the genetic material of each of your parents. And it'll be in a different mixture based on the way the good Lord wanted it to come out. But if both of your parents have high blood pressure, and both of your parents have high cholesterol, and both of your parents have had strokes at an early age, and you do the same things that they did, such as eat lots of cholesterol, fried foods, smoke cigarettes, you're probably going to have a stroke as well,” explains Dr. David Chatman. Dr. David Chatman is currently the Medical Director of Focused Claims Review in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Optum Health Care following a successful career as vascular surgeon. He talks with host D-Rich about the importance of communicating and understanding your family medical history. They are joined by Dr. Allison Matthews, Executive Director and Research Fellow in Faith and Health, to discuss the stigma surrounding HIV in the Black community. 

 

Historically, the Black community and Black churches have not been very accepting of the LGBTQ community and as such there is a large stigma surrounding HIV. People prefer to act like HIV does not exist and to stay silent. This leads to HIV-positive Black and Brown individuals being uncomfortable with seeking care or even just speaking with their families about their experiences. Talking about HIV status is not the only medical issue that the Black community struggles with. Many adults prefer not to talk about any of their health concerns or medical history with others, even their own children. It is vital that we normalize having these discussions in an understanding and compassionate way because knowing your family medical history could be the difference between life and death in many cases.

 

It can be difficult to have conversations about medical concerns. Many people delay going to the doctor because they would rather not know something is wrong. By working to remove the stigma surrounding medical conditions, we can make it easier for people to choose to seek out care. 

 

Quotes

• “Nationally we don't really have a lot of faith based initiatives around HIV, because of the stigma. A lot of people don't agree with homosexuality in the Black community and in Black churches in particular. Unfortunately, churches have been one of the main sources of stigma around HIV. We were founded in 2021 to coordinate efforts to put money into faith based organizations that are committed to addressing HIV stigma in a responsible and compassionate way.” (5:21-6:02 | Dr. Allison)

• “The common thread through faith communities and our families is silence. I think a big reason why HIV has so much stigma is because we like to sweep things under the rug and act like things never happen. But our silence is what's killing us.” (18:44-19:08 | Dr. Allison) 

• “The thing that I like to share with the community and people who tend to be in what I call pockets of ignorance is information that's readily available to people who are in higher socioeconomic status, etc. And I like to say that these are situations that we need to talk to each other about. We need to educate each other about in order to fill these gaps.” (37:05-37:39 | Dr. David)

• “When I talk about family history, I tell people, look at the people in your family. See what it is that bothers them. Why is that important? You contain somewhere between 40 to 70% of the genetic material of each of your parents. And it'll be in a different mixture based on the way the good Lord wanted it to come out. But if both of your parents have high blood pressure, and both of your parents have high cholesterol, and both of your parents have had strokes at an early age, and you do the same things that they did, such as eat lots of cholesterol, fried foods, smoke cigarettes, you're probably going to have a stroke as well.” (43:16-43:59 | Dr. David)

 

Links

 

Community Health Activation - Enabling Preventative and Restorative Health with Dr. Allison Mathews 

 

Connect with Dr. Allison Mathews:

 

Dr. Allison Mathews serves as Executive Director and Research Fellow in Faith and Health. She specializes in integrating technology, social marketing, community engagement, and social science to examine the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and religiosity on HIV-related stigma and to innovate clinical research engagement and access to health care for underserved populations. Dr. Mathews has been invited to speak about HIV and COVID-19 on national and international platforms, including TEDxCaryWomen. Dr. Mathews is the founder of Community Expert Solutions (CES). CES innovates community engagement for clinical trial research and public health campaigns using qualitative research, social marketing, technology, and crowdsourcing expertise. CES aims to build our clients' capacity to serve their communities more effectively while promoting health equity.

 

Normalizing Family Medical History and Understanding - Enabling Preventative and Restorative Health via Community Activation with Dr. David Chatman

 

Connect with Dr. David Chatman:

 

Dr. Chatman graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1985, then completed medical school at the James Quillen College of Medicine. His General Surgery and Vascular Surgery training were accomplished at Howard University and the Ochsner Clinic, respectively. He practiced General Vascular Surgery in Murfreesboro, TN, for 26 years. He has held many leadership positions in his healthcare community, on the Vanderbilt University Alumni Board, and in the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and recently retired from his practice of Vascular Surgery to accept a position at Optum Health Care as a Medical Director of Focused Claims Review in Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. He also recently began an MBA program at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management.

 

About Southern Soul Thursdays - @SoulThursdays

 

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