HUED: The Platform For People Of Color To Find Physicians Of Color – MadameNoire

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As a person of color, you may prefer to be cared for by medical professionals who are from the same ethnic background. But did you know that doing so can also lead to better health outcomes? Its no secret that Black and Latinx people experience dramatic disparities when it comes to their level of care. And after a traumatizing experience with several white physicians who lacked cultural competency, HUED founder and CEO Kimberly Wilson set out to close the gap by connecting marginalized communities with doctors of color.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Kimberly to learn more about her personal journey and HUEDs partnership with Vaseline.

MN: Tell me about HUED.

Kimberly: HUED is a healthcare engagement solution tailored to address the needs of the Black and Latino population. So our technology connects patients with culturally competent healthcare providers. But on top of that, we offer health literacy and we help organizations transition to value-based care and to your second, sorry. That is a long-winded way of saying that we are a for us, by us health-tech platform dedicated to improving the lives of Black and Latinx. populations.

MN: What inspired you to launch this platform?

Kimberly: So, I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids in 2017. I was in Las Vegas and I had to go to the emergency room and I found out that I had fibroids at that time. While common for women, Black women specifically, up to ninety percent will develop them by the age of fifty, and for many, theyll never have any issues. But, if anybody is like me, I had over thirty of them and they began to impact my other organs. So living in New York City over a period of six months, I visited four different white male providers and they either dismissed my pain and trauma altogether or stated that a hysterectomy with my only option. I was thirty at the time and I was very distraught. Thankfully, I decided at that moment to become my own health care advocate and not let, with a physician told me, specifically a white physician, kind of make the determination for my life. It wasnt until finding a Black physician in Baltimore, over a hundred miles away from home, that I received the culturally-competent care but I needed and deserved at that time.

MN: And youve partnered with Vaseline.

Kimberly: Yeah, there is a huge issue within skin health within this country and I think that Vaseline is extremely committed and mission-driven and aligned with the work that HUED is doing in order to solve some of the issues that exist. People of color are often misdiagnosed or overlooked within dermatology. And unfortunately, it is the reason why African-Americans suffer from the highest mortality rates for melanoma, which is a form of cancer and a skin condition. So we created the platform to one, meet the needs of people of color by providing them with trusted resources and education to make sure that every patient is getting the incredible care that they deserve because dermatologists are also plagued with systematic racism, which ultimately causes many disparities within the healthcare field.

Kimberly: This partnership with Vaseline is not to be looked at as a moment in time but, really taking a look under a lens at the healthcare industry to think about how we can make critical changes in how patients of color are being diagnosed. Theres a lack of images for darker skin, which impacts how people of color are diagnosed and also treated. And then, just make ensuring that physicians are getting the proper medical education relative to cultural sensitivity and cultural competency. So, our resources serve as a patient guide of what to do and the right questions to ask. Oftentimes, we cant just put the onus on the physician but really making, making sure that patients and their own self-advocates as well and equipping them with the educational tools and resources that they need to ask the right questions when they go to the doctor.

Kimberly: Vaseline was aligned and our mission to ignite change and galvanized the medical community to close this gap in care. We worked together on our search tool to equip Black in Latinx patients to be able to find culturally competent dermatologists. And then weve been working with them on a number of educational resources that provide expert recommendations on proper skin health and what questions to ask at these appointments.

MN: As a Black woman, I can admit that I dont always take the measures needed to protect against skin cancer, such as wearing sunscreen.

Kimberly: I do want to preface this by saying, I am not a physician in any capacity, but to that point, there is just a lower public awareness overall of the risk of getting cancer among individuals the color, which leads to what youre talking about, right? Were not properly treating our skin. Were not making sure that were wearing sunscreen and all these things. But I think also, from the perspective of healthcare providers, theres a lower index of skin cancer patients of color because the chances of it are actually smaller. So these patients may be less likely to get regular full body scan exams, unfortunately, which means, that for people of color, the places on the body where we tend to be diagnosed are often and the less-than-exposed, more-out-of-the-way areas. I was reading something that says it actually occurs in the lower extremities of the body, so like the soles of the feet.

There have to be behavioral changes in how people of color treat the healthcare system in order to for us to get the care that we need. And again, you know, HUED is really focused on creating behavioral changes on the patient and the physician side in order to do so. African-Americans have the highest rates of maternal mortality, melanoma heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer. That is not, you know, insignificant in the grand scheme of things and a lot of changes have to happen on both sides. Theres even been a lot of conversations just around COVID testing and, you know, communities of color, we also have the lowest participation and clinical trials. So what also tends to happen is that because Black people were experimented on within our healthcare system so were not the first people who are going to volunteer so then try a new experiment. So, unfortunately, what ends up happening is that physicians dont have data relative to whats occurring to African-Americans. They use data, they use the information of how trials or how different products and things like that work for different populations. But if they dont have that data, it is hard for them to be able to diagnose properly.

I like to say that its also a vicious cycle thats occurring because of the systemic and psychological barriers that have been placed on people of color at the earliest onset of this industry in general, its kind of set us up to fail. And what we want to do is we do not want to leave, these communities behind and really give them everything that they need to thrive, to be healthy, to live longer, to be proactive instead of reactive about our health and that is what Hued is built on.

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HUED: The Platform For People Of Color To Find Physicians Of Color - MadameNoire

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