Honoring Black History in Healthcare: Week 4 – Enslaved Women and Modern Gynecology

Throughout February, NOAH will share and honor Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history in healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve this goal.

Enslaved Women and Modern Gynecology

By By Jennifer Perry, MD, PGY-3

Dr. James Marion Sims has been named the “father of modern gynecology” for his contribution of tools, such as the speculum, and surgical techniques related to women’s health. He was named president of the American Medical Association in 1876 and president of the American Gynecological Society in 1880. However, Dr. Sims’ success has overshadowed the suffering of enslaved women that contributed to his work.

Seven women participated in Dr. Sims’ experimentation over a four-year period. Lucy, an 18-year-old who was unable to control her bladder after a traumatic birth, was his first subject. She had a vesicovaginal fistula, a connection between the bladder and uterus which wasn’t uncommon for women who endured traumatic deliveries in the 19th century. Dr. Sims placed naked Lucy on her knees and elbows with her head in her hands for the procedure while several male doctors watched. The entire surgery was conducted without anesthesia. As imagined, Lucy experienced extreme pain as Dr. Sims operated. A sponge was placed in Lucy’s bladder to drain the urine, which led to severe infection. Lucy almost lost her life, but this did not stop Dr. Sims from performing a similar procedure on six other enslaved women.

Enslaved women were considered property and did not need to give their consent for medical procedures. Dr. Sims performed more than 30 surgeries on one woman, Anarcha, without anesthesia. Despite reports of displayed agony, including screaming, it was believed that Black people did not experience pain like White people, so anesthesia was not utilized. However, once Dr. Sims perfected his technique, he performed surgery on White women under anesthesia.

Statues of Dr. Sims have been erected in Central Park and Philadelphia in dedication to his contribution to medicine. Those statues have sparked many protests because of the controversy of honoring a man who performed non-consensual medical experiments on Black women. The New York City statue was moved out of Central Park in 2018, and to Dr. Sims gravesite in Brooklyn, NY. In the same year, the monument in Philadelphia was removed and replaced by a plaque that educates the public of the origins of the monument and the Black females whose bodies were used for the advancement of medicine.

To learn more about the medical ethics involved with this story, read this article from the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Read our other Black History in Healthcare stories:

Week 1: The Innovations of Dr. Charles Richard Drew

Week 2: Understanding the Tuskegee Study

Week 3: The Lasting Impact of Henrietta Lacks

Dental Tips for National Children’s Dental Health Month

By Nicollette Villescaz, Pediatric Dental Assistant

Even as the shortest month, February brings a lot of holidays and awareness topics. One awareness topic not to be missed is National Children’s Dental Health Month! My name is Nicollette and I am a professional pediatric dental assistant here at NOAH. I’m going to share pediatric dental tips on how parents and caregivers, along with your child’s dental team can work together to prevent tooth decay, which is the number one dental problem for preschoolers with around 50% of children having one or more cavities by age 5.

Dental tips to prevent tooth decay in your child

The best way to ensure healthy teeth is to prevent problems before they start. Things like having a healthy diet, proper brushing and flossing habits, and not having sugary drinks from baby bottles can help protect your child’s teeth.

Rethink your drinks

As parents and guardians of young children, we know that a healthy diet is important, and we shouldn’t give them candy and sweets too often. However, it’s actually what children drink, not what they eat that is more dangerous to their teeth. I have heard and seen our NOAH dentists and medical doctors express repeatedly how bad juice, soda, energy drinks, Gatorade, and lemonade are for children. They aren’t bad for kids just because of the artificial flavors, and dye colorings, but also because of the high amounts of acid and sugar. These drinks have too much sugar and acid for kids of any age. The only fluids a child needs are plenty of water (especially in this desert heat) and milk for nutrients like calcium. When parents and caregivers give children acid and sugars to eat and drink we are putting them at a greater risk for tooth pain caused by cavities.

Brush and floss

Children and parents need to know the right way to brush and floss those little teeth because baby teeth are so important to keep healthy. Our top priority when children and parents or caregivers come to NOAH Dental is education and prevention. There are stages to this as kids grow:

  1. As soon as teeth appear, it’s time to brush! A few tiny baby teeth need just a small amount of cleaning.
  2. When more teeth arrive, increase brushing. Parents and guardians need to help children brush their teeth twice a day. Kids can’t brush all the cavity-causing germs and crumbs away by themselves.
  3. Once a child is old enough to brush their own hair or tie their own shoes, then they can start to brush and floss on their own.
  4. Stay consistent at every stage. A dental hygiene routine is vital to healthy teeth.

Ditch the bottle

The biggest contributor to cavities in our infant and toddler patients is the bottle! Babies should never have anything other than water or milk. Once a child is a year old, they should only have milk with meals, not nap times or throughout the day – stick to water for that! Letting kids drink milk or juice any time of the day, puts them at risk for tooth pain caused by cavities.

Care for those baby teeth

Too often I hear parents or guardians say, “They are just baby teeth, it’s not so serious,” and “They will be falling out anyway.” This is where our dental education is so important! Children experience the same effects of a toothache exactly how an adult would, with cold sensitivity, difficulty drinking or eating, throbbing pain, swelling, infections, and difficulty sleeping. Children need healthy teeth to help them chew and speak clearly. Plus, baby teeth hold the space for their adult teeth to come in correctly.

Cavities and dental pain are preventable in children. The NOAH Dental team works together with parents and guardians to keep away tooth decay and pain away in children. To learn more, visit our NOAH Dental page for helpful videos and tips. If you are ready for you or your child to see a NOAH dentist, make an appointment today!

ACA Open Enrollment is Here!

Having health insurance is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your family. Whether it’s through an employer, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or Arizona’s Medicaid offering AHCCCS, there are different insurance options available. Knowing the best plan for you and your family is important and NOAH is here to help during Open Enrollment.

Starting February 15, you can enroll in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace that fits your needs. NOAH Community Resource Specialists can provide you with information about several different options and can help complete paperwork virtually with you to see if you qualify for some of the available plans.

The Health Insurance Marketplace

Often referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace or Obamacare, the Health Insurance Marketplace helps more Americans have access to health insurance. If you aren’t covered under an employee plan, or don’t qualify for Medicaid/AHCCCS, you can get insurance through the Marketplace. In Arizona, there are several different providers to pick from, and different plans to fit your healthcare needs and finances. NOAH’s Certified Application Counselors are available to help you understand your options, eligibility, assist virtually with paperwork, and help with your enrollment in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan.

For health insurance coverage through the Marketplace, the enrollment deadline is May 15.

Other Health Insurance Options

  • Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) – AHCCCS is Arizona’s Medicaid program. There are free and low-cost plans available for individuals and families. To qualify, you need to meet income requirements and be an Arizona resident. AHCCCS is open for enrollment year-round but does need to be renewed annually.
  • KidsCare – If parents are covered under an employer insurance, but kids are not, the KidsCare program can help! KidsCare, often referred to as CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) is offered through AHCCCS and is available for Arizona children under age 19 who meet the income requirement. Like AHCCCS, this health insurance is also open for enrollment year-round. If your family already qualifies for AHCCCS, you don’t need to worry about the separate KidsCare coverage for your children.

If you’ve recently received a letter reminding of your recertification date for AHCCCS or KidsCare, or have had changes to work, income or other health coverage, the NOAH Community Resources Specialists can help with your AHCCCS eligibility and enrollment.

Enrolling in ACA

Health insurance can be complicated. Whether you are enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace for the first time, are renewing your AHCCCS plan, or have changes to your policy, it is nice to have support along the way. NOAH has trained, certified team members here to help you with 2021 ACA/Obamacare/Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment, so give us a call at 480-882-4545, or fill out the form here and select “Community Resources – Eligibility” under Type of Appointment. 

REMEMBER – Open enrollment starts Monday, February 15th and closes Saturday, May 15th!

Enjoy Snacking Even More During Snack Food Month

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN |Nutrition Supervisor

Nutrition comes in all forms, colors, and quality. Most of the time we think of snack food as something less healthy and make our major meals the place to get all those good nutrients we need like proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. But snacks have a place in healthy lifestyle, especially during National Snack Food Month!

Here are some benefits of snacking and recommendations for fun and satisfying snacks.

Benefits of snacking

  1. Satisfying hunger: Being hungry between meals is not a bad thing! If you body is signaling hunger it usually means it is time to eat. But listen to your body. If you started eating at night because it’s a habit, or turn to a snack during a stressful day, your body might be looking for another form of self-care.
  2. Controlling blood sugars: Diabetes or not, it is important to maintain your blood sugars throughout the day. If we go too long between meals without eating, we risk having our blood sugars drop which can cause shakiness, sweating, lightheadedness, and anxiety. Leave no more than 3-4 hours between eating is recommended.
  3. Meeting calorie and nutrient needs: While calories do not need to be counted every day for most people, remember that all of our organs and body systems need enough calories every day to function properly. We can help by eating enough throughout the day and including good portions of each food group at our meals. Snacks supplement our needs between meals like an extra serving of a fruit, vegetable, or something from the list below.

The best snack choices

Whatever you like! It is best to make pairings just how we do for meals – if we just eat something like chips or celery on its own it won’t keep us full for long. Instead choose a base of a protein or healthy fat which will make the snack more filling. Here are some great examples:

  • String Cheese
  • Turkey Jerky
  • Trail Mix or any type of nut or seed
  • Hummus + Veggies
  • Avocado Toast
  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Natural Peanut Butter + Celery Stalks + Raisins
  • Cottage Cheese + Veggies or Fruit
  • Edamame
  • Greek Yogurt + Fruit or Peanut Butter
  • Greek Yogurt Dip (plain yogurt with garlic powder, dill, chives, and paprika)
  • Brown Rice Cake + Almond, Peanut, or Sunflower Butter
  • Smoothie (protein base of yogurt, soy milk, protein powder, then add any fruit or vegetable)
banana and peanut butter snacks

Try some the NOAH Nutrition Services team’s favorite snacks:

Banana and Peanut Butter Bites – this snack is quick, easy, and full of protein and potassium (among other nutrients) to help you feel full.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – this flavorful snack is filling and gives a great kick to keep you satisfied for a while.

Oatmeal Energy Bites – these little bites pack a punch of flavor and energy to start your day or get you through a busy afternoon.

Visit our NOAH recipe page for more snack and meal ideas!

Nutrition Impacts Your Heart Health

By Brandon Bolton, RDN |Nutrition Educator

February is American Heart Month, so let’s raise awareness and support for heart health in the fight against heart disease!

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it is the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many risk factors that impact your chances of having heart disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risk factors are and what you can do to lower them.

Some risk factors for heart disease include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • lack of physical activity
  • unhealthy eating behaviors

These risk factors can be managed or changed. Some risk factors that cannot be changed include age, sex, and family history of heart disease.

If you have any questions or concerns about potential risk factors, please check with your NOAH healthcare provider!

As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I provide nutritional care and guidance for patients with nutrition-related conditions like diabetes and pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight management, digestive issues, food allergies, and more.

Advice to living a heart-healthy life

Heart disease is often preventable when people make healthy changes, including diet and how much activity or exercise they get. Living a heart-healthy life means knowing your risk factors and making good choices to protect your heart and stay healthy. Here are some heart-healthy nutrition and exercise tips:

  • Choose heart-healthy foods and eat a diet that is balanced with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources.
    • Try to have at least half of your grain intake come from whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa.
    • Aim for 1-2 cups of fruit daily
    • Aim for 1-3 cups of vegetables daily
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products when having milk, cheese, or yogurt.

Foods to enjoy

  • Lean meats such as 95% lean ground beef or pork tenderloin, or skinless chicken or turkey (limit red meats to one time per week)
    • Fish such as salmon and tuna (try to eat fish as least once per week)
    • Eggs
    • Nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, edamame
    • Legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  • Incorporate foods that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good fats):
    • Olive oil or avocado oil
    • Fish and seafood
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Nut and seed butters
    • Avocados

Foods to limit

  • Limit high sodium foods. Adults and children 14+ should eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium daily.
    • Read food labels and choose foods that are lower in sodium. Look for low sodium, reduced sodium, or no salt added on the food label.
    • Choose fresh, whole foods whenever possible and try to avoid processed foods such as frozen meals.
    • Avoid the saltshaker and flavor foods with herbs and spices instead.
  • Limit saturated fats.
    • Saturated fat is usually found in animal-based proteins such as fatty beef, pork, and chicken skin.
    • It is also found in full-fat dairy products such as whole milk.
    • Butter, lard, coconut and palm oils also contain saturated fats (replace with olive oil).
  • Avoid trans fats.
    • Trans fats can be found in margarine, shortening, processed sweets, baked goods, and some fried foods.
    • Avoid foods with “partially hydrogenated oil” on the ingredient list such as cookies, pastries, baked goods, biscuits, crackers, and frozen dinners.
  • Limit foods that are high in added sugars
    • Sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda, fruit juice, sweetened coffees, and energy drinks
    • Sweets and desserts
  • Limit Alcohol

If you have any nutrition questions or need help developing a heart healthy diet plan, please reach out to one of the dietitians here at NOAH and make an appointment today!

It’s About More Than Just Food

By MaKayla Kellor, Case Manager

When you hear the phrase “eating disorders,” your mind immediately thinks about food, but what most people do not know is that eating disorders are so much more than just food. This year, during National Eating Disorder Awareness week, we hope to shed light on the deadliest mental illness, because though eating disorders are characterized by obsession with food, body weight and size, the root of an eating disorder is so much deeper.

What is an eating disorder?

  • A way to feel in control when everything else in your life feels out of control.
  • Numbing your undesirable feelings with lack of nutrition.
  • An attempt to achieve higher self-esteem and perfectionism through body image.

The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Though they all have their own signs and symptoms, they all have an equally negative impact on someone’s health, emotions, and ability to function in day-to-day life.

People with eating disorders usually do not think they have a problem. Here are some signs and symptoms to look for if you think someone in your life may have an eating disorder:

  • Skipping meals
  • Making excuses for not eating
  • Intense dieting
  • Excessively working out
  • Avoiding social activities involving food
  • Eating alone rather than with others
  • Lots of talk about body image or weight
  • Using dietary supplements or laxatives
  • Using the restroom immediately after mealtime
  • Eating much more food than a normal portion
  • Shame or guilt around eating

If you are worried that you, or someone you love, has an eating disorder, the best thing you can do to support them is show them love. Eating disorders, like any addiction, are not easy to let go of. You may feel frustration in the process with your loved one and notice that they are not always honest about their progress in recovering from their eating disorder.

Individuals recovering from an eating disorder need compassion and accountability. It may seem as simple as “just eating,” but the depth of an eating disorder and the control, safety, and comfort it provides individuals is much deeper. The unhealthy coping mechanism is still a coping mechanism that has gotten them through their pain, and it will require a lot of inner work. The goal is to get to the root issue that is being masked with disordered eating patterns. People suffering with an eating disorder can’t get better for someone else, so the best thing you can do is show patience and continuous support.

If you have questions about getting help for you or a loved one through an eating disorder, NOAH’s team can help. Call to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced providers.

Honoring Black History in Healthcare: Week 3 – The Lasting Impact of Henrietta Lacks

Throughout February, NOAH will share and honor Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve this goal.

The Lasting Impact of Henrietta Lacks

By Monica Chaung, MD, PGY-3

In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a young mother of five, was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Doctors at Johns Hopkins collected some of her cancer cells during her biopsy to diagnose the cancer. Some of these cells were sent to Dr. George Grey’s research lab, as was common with many other patients at this time.

The sample cells from other patients Dr. Grey collected and studied quickly died. Henrietta Lacks’ cells, however, were different. Instead of dying, Henrietta’s cells doubled every 20-24 hours. These remarkable cells, named “HeLa” cells after her first and last name, became the first immortal human cell line.  

To this day, researchers continue to use HeLa cells to make scientific and medical discoveries. They have allowed scientists to study the human genome, test the effects of drugs and toxins on human cells, learn more about cancer cells and viruses, and even create the Polio vaccine; all without having to experiment on humans. HeLa cells also have been used to improve our understanding of diseases like tuberculosis and HIV.

Despite her enormous contribution to medicine, however, the way in which Henrietta’s cells were used raised ethical questions. In the 1950s, it was common for extra biopsy samples to be shared and used for research without gaining consent from patients. Standardized informed consent was not common practice.

When Henrietta Lacks consented to the diagnosis and treatment of her cervical cancer, she was not informed that her cells could be collected and used for ongoing research. Additionally, there were no regulations on the use of human cells for research and patients did not have access to their medical records. The ethical concerns surrounding the use of Henrietta Lacks’ cell line have guided policies that now protect patients. These include informed consent, research approval through an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and improving patients’ access to their medical records. 

Henrietta Lacks died at the age of 31, within a short time of her cancer diagnosis. Although her life ended early, Henrietta Lacks’ legacy lives on through her HeLa cells, the impact of her story, and on research and medical ethics.

More on her story can be found in Rebecca Skloots’ book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Read our other Black History Month snapshots:

Week 1: The Innovations of Dr. Charles Richard Drew

Week 2: Understanding the Tuskegee Study

Week 4: Enslaved Women and Modern Gynecology

Honoring Black History in our Healthcare: Week 2 – Understanding the Tuskegee Study

Throughout February, NOAH will share and honor Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. It is well-established that blacks and other minority groups in the U.S. experience more illness, worse outcomes, and premature death compared with whites. To change that, we will look at where we have been, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve these goals.

Understanding the Tuskegee Study

By Jennifer Perry, MD, PGY-3

Frequently cited as one of the original causes of mistrust and discord between the African American community and the U.S. Department of Health and its branches is the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” This study was intended to examine the progression of syphilis in humans. After the promise of free medical care, 600 Black men in Alabama registered for the study in 1932. The details of the study were not disclosed to the men who registered. Of the 600 participants, 399 had the disease while the remaining 201 served as the control group.

Researchers only told the men they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used during that time to describe several different ailments. However, the men in the study were all given a placebo (a pill or treatment with no medical effect) such as aspirin and mineral supplements. Healthcare workers continued to monitor the participants and provide ineffective treatments. Although the study was intended to be six months, it continued for 40 years. The men suffering from the disease continued to receive placebos, even after penicillin became an effective treatment for syphilis in 1947, 15 years into the study.

The men in the study paid the ultimate price of blindness, insanity, and death as their disease progressed unnecessarily for the sake of scientific analysis. Later research found nothing to show the men were given the option to leave the study once effective treatment had become available.

In the mid-1960’s, Peter Buxton, a venereal disease investigator raised concerns about the ethics of “The Tuskegee Syphilis Study” as it became known, and a committee was formed to review it. Ultimately, the committee elected to allow the experiment to continue, and recommended concluding only once all participants had died, autopsies had been performed, and the data analyzed.

Buxton decided to leak the story. He sent the information to Associated Press reporter Jean Heller, who published the findings. When the story broke in 1972, it was met with public outrage. By that time, 128 participants had died from the disease or related complications, while at least 40 spouses had been infected, and 19 children had contracted syphilis in-utero. After the conclusion of Congressional hearings, the living participants and their families collectively reached an out-of-court settlement of $9 million, and new guidelines were issued to protect future participants of human studies. As part of the settlement, the U.S. government promised participants (later extended to spouses and their offspring) lifetime medical benefits offered through the Tuskegee Health Benefit Program.

Although the government has attempted to make amends, including an apology from President Bill Clinton in 1997, suspicion of the government and healthcare services continue to plague the Black community. Even with the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 there is still caution, distrust, and wariness as a result of events in our history like “The Tuskegee Syphilis Study” and other disparities in healthcare for Black Americans.

To learn more, watch The Tuskegee Study video by Black History in Two Minutes or read The Tuskegee Study Timeline by the CDC.  

Read our other Black History Month snapshots:

Week 1: The Innovations of Dr. Charles Richard Drew

Week 3: The Lasting Impact of Henrietta Lacks

Week 4: Enslaved Women and Modern Gynecology

Get Well with Food: How nutrition helps you recover

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN & Nicole Vaudrin O’Reilly, RDN

Proper nutrition helps the body fight infections and heal from surgery or wounds, colds, the flu, COVID-19, and other illnesses and injuries. When your body is going through the healing process, it generally increases the need for calories and specific nutrients. When an illness, like COVID-19, affects appetite, taste, and smell, eating well can be even harder.

Here are recommendations to have a balanced, healthy diet to help your recovery.

Hydrate: Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea can all contribute to dehydration, not to mention being hydrated is helpful for relieving cold symptoms as well.  Try to increase how much water you drink. Adults should try to drink eight 8-oz glasses of water every day when they aren’t sick. Adults who are recovering from an illness should drink 3 liters / 100oz / 12 8-oz glasses of mostly water every day. If you really want to help your body, add 1-2 servings of electrolyte drinks, like Pedialyte, Gatorade, or Emergen-C per day to stay hydrated. That can feel like a lot but sipping on small glasses of water every 15 minutes throughout the day can make it easier.

Food Frequency:  Small, frequent meals and snacks can help with meeting your increased needs, even when you’re not hungry. Try to eat small, healthy snacks or meals, or drink broth, supplement shakes, or smoothies every few hours.

Protein: Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and for building and repairing body tissues. So as your body is healing, you will need more protein. We recommend eating a variety of protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, and seeds. Protein powders or drinks can be helpful if you need to increase your protein, especially if your appetite, taste, and/or smell are impacted because of your illness.

Nutrient-Dense Foods: These are foods that have a lot of vitamins and minerals – important for health. Examples of nutrition-dense foods includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, skinless poultry, peas and beans, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds. Nutrition helps when you’re recovering from being sick or injured, so try to eat as many of these foods as you can.

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins D, C and E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids help your immune system heal from being sick or injured. Taking a daily multi-vitamin with these nutrients can be a good way to have enough but ask your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements. The best way to get these important vitamins and minerals, though, is in what you eat. Eat as many nutrient-dense foods (listed above) as you can every day – at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (frozen, fresh, canned, blended in smoothies, vegetable-based soups, etc.). Choose whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, corn, or whole wheat tortillas) and include plenty of eggs, meat, dairy, healthy oils (olive, canola, avocado, flaxseed), nuts/seeds, and seafood.

Probiotics: Antibiotics are a powerful tool against bacterial infections, but they can disrupt your gut microbiome (the good bacteria and other microbes living in your intestines that help you digest your food), leaving you with side effects like diarrhea. If you need antibiotics, consider taking a supplement or eating plenty of probiotic foods during and after treatment. Since probiotics are also bacteria (what the antibiotic will be fighting), be sure to take your antibiotics and probiotics supplements or foods a few hours apart. Fermented foods are the best source of probiotics and include yogurt, kefir, cheese, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and probiotic drinks – Yakult or Bio Salud.

It is amazing what nutrition can do for our bodies and our daily lives. Nutrition helps our overall health by assisting our body in fighting diseases, recovering from illness and injury, and so much more. NOAH’s team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) works with our patients because nutrition is a big part of your overall health. Talk to one of our RDNs today to learn more.

Honoring Black History in Healthcare: Week 1 – The Innovations of Dr. Charles Richard Drew

Throughout February, NOAH will share and honor Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve these goals.

Week 1: The Innovations of Dr. Charles Richard Drew

By Karina Luera, DO, PGY-1

Dr. Charles Richard Drew, an African American surgeon born in 1904, is known as the “Father of Blood Banking” for his significant contributions to the process of blood plasma preservation.

Dr. Drew attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and became interested in blood transfusion during his residency work in fluid resuscitation for shock. Later, he was awarded a Rockefeller fellowship at Columbia University where he wrote his thesis “Banked Blood: A Study in Blood Preservation” for his Doctorate in Medical Science. His research led to an appointment as the Medical Director of the Blood for Britain Project (BFB) during World War II, a program in which he implemented a uniform procedure for collecting and processing blood and plasma, successfully collecting over 14,000 blood donations.

Shortly after completing his work with the BFB, he was appointed assistant director of a national blood banking program in the US, sponsored by the American Red Cross where he developed one of his greatest innovations, mobile blood donation units. His work paved the way for the development of modern blood storage and transfusions.

Dr. Drew faced several racial barriers throughout his life, including being denied training and research opportunities. Most ironically, he was unable to donate blood to the very programs he helped establish at the American Red Cross due to their policies preventing Black people from donating blood. The policy was later modified but still required blood donations from Black and White people to be stored separately.  

In response to the policies of the American Red Cross, he resigned from his position and began teaching at Howard University as the Head of the Department of Surgery while also serving as the Chief of Surgery at Freedmen’s Hospital. His mission was to train young African American surgeons to the highest standards. He was the first Black person to be appointed an examiner for the American Board of Surgery. Additionally, he continued to campaign against the exclusion of Black physicians from local and national medical organizations, including the American Medical Association.

Dr. Drew died tragically in a car accident at the age of 46. In his short lifetime, he broke through many racial barriers and made significant contributions to the fields of science and medicine.

Read our other Black History Month snapshots:

Week 2: Understanding the Tuskegee Study

Week 3: The Lasting Impact of Henrietta Lacks

Week 4: Enslaved Women and Modern Gynecology