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Black History Month: Reflections from Dr. Nathalie Johnson, MD, FACS

February 14, 2022

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The 2022 theme for Black History Month, “Black Health and Wellness,” looks at how American health care has often failed to serve or help the African American community. 

This year, during Black History Month, Dr. Nathalie Johnson, senior medical director of Legacy Cancer Institute, expresses the importance of Black health and wellness and shares how she focuses on her own health and wellness. 

Wellness comes in two forms: Physical and mental. Both are extremely important. We all know that eating right and being physically active is the cornerstone of physical health. Getting in exercise that gets the heart rate up is paramount, and it doesn’t require going to the gym. A good walk during the day at work, taking the steps or walking in your neighborhood are great. Nowadays, putting on a YouTube exercise video and following or dancing along at home is also a good and fiscally awesome way to get exercise in routinely.

Mental health is something we don’t always focus on but getting to a place of inner peace despite the craziness of this world helps to keep you in a great place and maintains your physical health as well. The past few years have been extremely challenging. There are more stresses for people of color around social justice, and the local and national dialogue has compounded life in a racialized society. To that end, personally, I start and end each day with devotion. My family focuses on the “attitude of gratitude” and focusing on the goodness and light in life. Some days, it’s easier said than done. It is good to connect with a therapist at times when you need more than the listening ear of a friend. Legacy has employee resources that can be accessed. 

As an organization we want to correct disparities in outcomes that exist. So we should focus on making sure there is equitable access and excellent care that is free of bias — implicit or otherwise — for Black people.

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