For over a decade, Dr. Lisa has worked on the ground and virtually to improve health literacy and connections in healthcare, and her company Grapevine Health has become a relatable, science-driven source for help.

 

Dr. Lisa pictured below conducting health literacy outreach in Washington, DC, in 2019.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became clear that Black Americans were being disproportionately affected by the virus. By April 2020, rates of infection and death in predominantly Black counties were already three and six times higher, respectively, than rates in largely white counties, a report in JAMA showed. And up through June 2020, Black Americans accounted for 21.8 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to research published in Frontiers in Public Health, though they make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. 

 

FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH FOCUSING ON HER STORY

Black Health and Wellness

Health Changemaker Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH

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Health disparities are unfortunately nothing new: Black Americans have regularly had higher rates of conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, which put them at higher risk of complications and death from COVID. The reasons for these underlying conditions are multifold: Socioeconomic factors (Access to safe housing, healthy foods, transportation, utilities, and physical environment) have limited their access to care, and systemic factors such as racial bias in healthcare, as well as a historically well-founded mistrust of the healthcare system, have been barriers to getting adequate care, including preventive care. 

Health literacy — how well a person can obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions — is another challenge. Health insurance policies can be hard for anyone to digest, for example, but when there are lower levels of health literacy, it can be even more difficult to understand how copays, deductibles, and coinsurance work, or to determine whether a provider is in- or out-of-network, according to research published in Health Literacy Research and Practice. Racial and ethnic minorities are among those most affected by low health literacy, including the 58 percent of African Americans who have basic or below basic health literacy, compared with 28 percent of white Americans. All of this ultimately impacts health outcomes even in a time when the Affordable Care Act has greatly expanded healthcare coverage.

Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, an infectious-disease physician, and a public health advocate, has been a leader in changing this narrative by providing underserved communities with “trusted, credible, and relatable health information.” Affectionately known as Dr. Lisa in various communities in Washington, DC; Mobile, Alabama; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the acclaimed doctor is the founder and CEO of Grapevine Health, a company that uses the power of story, technology, and community to improve health literacy and healthcare among Black and Latinx communities. She began her career in public health as a medical epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service, where she spent the first 2 of her 10 years at the CDC. During her last two years, she served as Chief of Party for the Global AIDS Program in the Caribbean region, where she implemented the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Health Literacy Services

Health system partners:

Grapevine Health assist health systems, medical providers, and researchers with strategies to prepare for and improve community outreach and engagement, including assistance with the design and delivery of culturally appropriate communications and marketing. 

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Community partners and stakeholders:

They are on the ground and on the web impacting health literacy. Building trust through delivery of credible, community-focused health information content. Tailoring health information for the community through video, storytelling, and events.

Using data, technology, videos, storytelling and collaborative conversations between community and health experts to create content that makes health information more engaging, relatable, and understandable.

Grapevine Health is available to the community to assist with understanding health information, whether symptoms or information about your diagnosis and medications. Contact them by text or voicemail at 202-702-8175

 

References: Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, Improves Health Literacy in Black Communities — Health Changemaker | Everyday Health By Maia Niguel Hoskin, PhD

Black Health Facts/ Everyday Health: Trusted Medical Information, Expert Health Advice, News, Tools, and Resources | Everyday Health

International Women’s Day is a global celebration that also takes place on March 8th every year (celebrated for the first time in 1911!). This year, it takes place on Tuesday.

The theme for International Women’s Day, March 8, 2022 (IWD 2022) is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.

Reference: International Women’s Day 2022: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” | UN Women

 
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WOMEN’S HEALTH AND WELLNESS

           

In fact, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 40 million people in the United States have osteoporosis or are at high risk for the disease.1

It makes you ask: what’s going on? For many people, diet can be the key to unlocking healthy bones, but we often fall short on certain vitamins and minerals that play an essential role in building strong bones. Physical activity and strength training are also key factors in maintaining a strong skeleton and, when combined with the right nutrients, can have long-term bone benefits.

Vitamins for Building and Maintaining Bones

Calcium: Calcium is one of the most critical nutrients for bone formation, but how much calcium do you need?

  • If you’re 19 to 50 years old, you need: 1,000 milligrams a day.1‡

  • If you’re 51 to 70, you need 1,200 milligrams a day (for women) and 1,000 milligrams a day (for men).2

  • If you’re 71+ you need 1,200 milligrams a day for both men and women.3

You can get calcium from the dairy products in your diet, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, or from non-dairy sources such as broccoli, kale, fortified orange juice, and tofu, or from supplements if your daily consumption falls short.

Vitamin D: Our skin synthesizes vitamin D by absorbing UV rays from sunlight. But if you spend too little time outside or if your skin is naturally dark and can’t absorb UV rays, consider supplementing with a good multivitamin.4 Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, so your bones can benefit from both of these nutrients. While very few foods contain vitamin D, some dietary sources include the flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and foods fortified with vitamin D.5

Protein: Proteins comprise about a third of your bones. Bone tissue is active, and your body needs a constant supply of protein to support bone remodeling—the break down and build-up of bone tissue. Foods rich in protein include meat, seafood, eggs, soy, and dairy foods.

Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral that lends strength to your skeleton. In fact, about 85% of the body’s phosphorus is found in bones and teeth. Phosphorus is abundant in high-protein foods, including yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, salmon, beef, and chicken.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps your body form collagen, a connective tissue that’s a structural component of your bones. Red bell pepper, orange juice, broccoli, strawberries, and kiwi provide vitamin C. Vitamin C is not stored in the body, so you need it every day.

Potassium: Potassium is part of every cell and it helps support bone health by counteracting the loss of calcium from bones in response to sodium in the diet. Potassium is found in nearly all foods, including meat and seafood, but is available in greater quantities in white and sweet potatoes, yogurt, orange juice, broccoli, milk, and bananas.

Magnesium: About half of all the magnesium in your body is associated with bone tissue. Magnesium is abundant in plant foods, including black beans, spinach, almonds, oatmeal, and yogurt.

 

Don’t Skimp on Strength Training

There’s another part of the bone health puzzle—and that’s strength training. The fact that most people don’t strength train in the United States, particularly as we get older, may partially explain why 10 million adults age 50 years and older have osteoporosis.1

Strength training—or weight-bearing exercise—stresses your bones (in a good way) and by doing so, increases bone density. How? Cells called osteoblasts are critical to maintaining your bone structure; when you do weight-bearing exercise, the osteoblasts lay down new bone tissue to strengthen the points where the bone is stressed. Do regular strength training (for different parts of the body), and the osteoblasts continue to reinforce the bone, over and over again.

You can add strength training* to your routine with body weight exercises, resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines at the gym. Always make sure you warm up for five to 10 minutes beforehand (to warm up the muscle, helping to prevent injury).

Choose a weight or resistance level that will tire your muscles after 12 repetitions. When you can do more than 15 reps without tiring, increase the amount of weight or resistance. And plan to do two to three, 20- to 30-minute sessions a week.

Bottom line: strength training—along with getting enough calcium and vitamin D—will help support your bones for years to come.

Reference: Contributed by Valarie Latona, former editor-in-chief of Shape and healthy living advocate.

‡ Note: Daily Values for Calcium on Centrum product labels are based on an RDI of 1,300 mg
*Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

 

  1. Osteoporosis: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology. Nov. 2019. eMedicine, https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/330598-overview#a5. Accessed 18 Aug. 2020.

  2. Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age | NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/nutrition/calcium-and-vitamin-d-important-every-age. Accessed 17 Aug. 2020

  3. Office of Dietary Supplements - Calcium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 2 Sept. 2020.

  4. “What Is Vitamin D? - SunSmart.” What Is Vitamin D? - SunSmart, https://www.sunsmart.com.au/uv-sun-protection/how-much-sun-is-enough. Accessed 18 Aug. 2020.

  5. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/. Accessed 2 Sept. 2020