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Nonprofit advocates culturally relevant support for women of color facing health challenges

A woman wearing a black coat and white winter hat holds a cardboard box. Two other cardboard boxes sit on a table. Several other women in the background are filling cardboard boxes.
Volunteers pack care packages tailored for women of color at a recent volunteer day led by HUES Women's Health Advocacy Institute.

One area nonprofit says a more holistic approach is needed to help women of color navigate various health systems.

Many health communities are not well equipped to support women of color through their health crisis, said Nicole Carter, founder of HUES Women’s Health Advocacy Institute.

“When you're sick in the hospital or at home, you're often alone, you're often isolated,” Carter said. “Navigating illness is hard enough.” 

Carter has lupus and Crohn's disease. She’s often hospitalized when her conditions flare. Since 2016, she's experienced a health community lacking resources and cultural understanding to support women of color by way of personal items that would make them feel more comfortable and personal interactions.

As a result, Carter created HUES, a nonprofit that supports women of color as they navigate the Dayton-area health systems.

Each month the group assembles Heal Well Care Kits — culturally relevant care packages.

“We have BAND-AIDS that are of different shades on purpose, ethnic hair care products, shampoo and conditioner. Hygiene items, soap and sanitary products. Also adult coloring books, coloring pencils, essential oils,” Carter said. “Then they have a card with affirmations written by volunteers, and then information about our services.”

HUES also emphasizes the importance of researchers including women of color in their studies, as well as promoting patient advocacy when a woman is in the hospital. Carter said one of the biggest health challenges for women of color is weathering.

"The role of stress and its impact on the bodies of Black women," Carter said. "How it reduces our lifespan, how it can cause changes to our immunity, and cause autoimmune disease, cause fibroids, endometriosis. Heart disease is very prevalent in the lives of Black women."

HUES hosted an online roundtable Wednesday focused on policies connected to Black women’s health equity, which you can watch on YouTube.

Kathryn Mobley is an award-winning broadcast journalist, crafting stories for more than 30 years. She’s reported and produced for TV, NPR affiliate and for the web. Mobley also contributes to several area community groups. She sings tenor with World House Choir (Yellow Springs), she’s a board member of the Beavercreek Community Theatre and volunteers with two community television operations, DATV (Dayton) and MVCC (Centerville).

Email: kmobley@wyso.org
Cell phone: (937) 952-9924