Letter from the Founder
Uzima is Swahili for full of life! Dr. David Satcher, the 16th U.S. Surgeon General, defined health equity as one’s ability to reach their full health potential. Amazingly, in voices from Africa to America, our words can hold the same meaning.
Uzima Health & Wellness is a nationally followed platform bringing light to issues that disproportionately affect Black communities. The goal is for my community to be seen in its authenticity—to be seen where we are, in the context of all the challenges that face us. Sawubona! “I see the whole of you…You are valuable to me.”
Advancing Black communities toward health equity means we want everyone to be seen. Black persons of the African diaspora are unique and distinct. In her book Let Me Explain Black Again, Pepper Miller, the legendary market researcher, elegantly states that terms like BIPOC are attempts to describe us within a minority group but they are limiting. They leave out our collective history as descendants of slaves who have had to navigate structural racism, overthrow Jim Crowism, and birth the civil rights movement. Part of this legacy is moving toward conversations, marketing, and campaigns for better healthcare for Black people. It took a pandemic to make the U.S. admit to its unequal medicine doctrine. The report Unequal Treatment, written in 2003, has finally been dusted off to usher in a new plan for equity in medicine.
This new plan is based on standardization of the health social needs of patients, on figuring out the weighted value of care based on a person’s access to care, food, transportation, education, and money. Hmmmm… This reminds me of the standardized test model. I remember being a Black girl taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Where would I be on the curve? I could not sleep the night before. I was so nervous. I remember all the times I took a standardized test. How the other multiracial kids in my class did would determine if our school was good or bad. We loved our teachers, so we did not want to disappoint them. We were at the only good middle school, so the pressure was intense to test well so they would not close the doors and shift us to another building. The scores and the data were the measure. And yet the numbers show only a standard curve. Sawubona! Equity in medicine means seeing us completely, seeing our value.
My Uzima will stand in the cultural roux with community and medicine, so while we may look at the numbers, we also hear the voices and we see Black people in need of healthcare completely. This will lead to action and better care.
Kendra Outler, MD
CEO of Uzima Healt & Wellness
“There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you.”
— Octavia Butler —