March 31, 2023

This Week

  • You have time to decide on how you want your Prostate Cancer treated if it is localized
  • Maternal deaths in the US spiked in 2021, CDC reports
  • Black Women's Health Imperative releases medication abortion statement
  • What to do when you have chest pain
  • New COVID booster shots cut risk of hospitalization by half, CDC reports
  • NBC News article: What it’s like to take the blockbuster drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, from severe side effects to losing 50 pounds

Top of Mind


A recent report from Kaiser Health News entitled Black Patients Dress Up and Modify Speech to Reduce Bias, California Survey Shows" in which I was quoted, seemed to miss my point, that the health care system is geared against Black patients regardless of how they dress or speak. Dressing and speaking well, in my experience, has little to do with how Black people are treated.

Many studies support the notion that often Black patients don’t get the same quality care as white patients in similar health care systems. I thought I had conveyed this to the reporter that had an unconscious or conscious bias on the part of providers was commonplace. This article implies that we have the option to get that care if we dress or speak well. Certainly, that is not my experience and I am certain that most Black people do not dress for the reason implied in the survey result. In fact, we were taught whenever you go to a significant encounter, you dress your best and certainly a visit to the doctor, qualifies as significant.


I appreciate anyone who takes on this issue in such a public way. Perhaps it will improve the collective consciousness of all elements of the healthcare system and it might serve to warn Black patients on what they may face in trying to get good health care. I have little evidence that the system will change anytime soon. That is why we, at the African American Wellness Project (AAWP), strongly encourage all patients, but particularly those that are Black, to develop the tools necessary to deal with a system that often has little respect for you.


  • By realizing you have the power as a healthcare consumer
  • By being prepared for visits
  • If necessary, have an advocate
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for second opinion

Stay Healthy,

Dr. Mike

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You have Time to Decide on how you want your Prostate Cancer Treated if it is Localized

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that actively monitoring localized Prostate Cancer is a safe alternative to immediate surgery or radiation.

Why Is this Important? If you have LOCALIZED Prostate Cancer, watching and waiting is a viable option but, you should always talk with your doctor.

Maternal Deaths in the US Spiked in 2021, CDC Reports

In 2021, the U.S. had one of the worst rates of maternal mortality in the country's history, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report found that 1,205 people died of maternal causes in the U.S. in 2021. That represents a 40% increase from the previous year.

Why is this Important? The maternal death rate among Black Americans is 2.6 times higher than the rate for white women. Very little progress has been made in reducing the risk of pregnancy of Black women, but Dr. Kevin Smith, Chair of the Ob/Gyn Department at the Alameda Medical Center in Oakland, says although his institution has been successful, he is waiting for an analysis of his data to see which factors explains their success.

Black Women's Health Imperative Releases Medication Abortion Statement

The Black Women's Health Imperative (BWHI) is the first and only national non-profit solely dedicated to achieving health equity for Black women in America. Recently, the BWHI issued the following statement in response to attacks on medical abortions in Wyoming and Texas. "We knew this was coming. We knew the attacks on our agency, our access, and ultimately our bodily autonomy had only just begun with the overturning of Roe. We knew they would go after yet another important part of women's healthcare – medication abortion. And, now we truly know just what political leaders in certain states in America really think about the rights of Black women, indeed all women," said Dr. Ifeoma C. Udoh, Executive Vice President of Policy, Advocacy & Science at the Black Women's Health Imperative.

What to do when you have Chest Pain

Discomfort in your chest is sometimes a result of gas, heartburn, inflammation in your rib cartilage or anxiety. But it’s important to be aware of the serious and even deadly problems that also can cause pain.

For potentially serious causes, quick treatment can be critical to survival. Call 911 or your local emergency services if you or someone near you has unexplained left sided or generalized chest pain along with: feeling of pressure or tightening of the chest, shooting pain, which is especially concerning down the left arm, left side of the neck, and left side of the jaw.

New COVID Booster Shots Cut Risk of Hospitalization by Half, CDC Reports

Booster shots have bolstered Americans’ defenses against serious COVID, reducing the risk of hospitalization by roughly 50 percent compared with certain groups inoculated with the original vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in a pair of studies published on Friday.


The research represents the agency’s first look at how the reformulated boosters, tailored to protect against recent Omicron variants, are performing in the prevention of severe consequences of infection with the virus, including emergency department visits and hospitalization.

NBC News article: What it's like to take the blockbuster drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, from severe side effects to losing 50 pounds

With the rising popularity of weight loss drug injections, I've received many questions from patients about the pros, cons, and costs. While Ozempic (semaglutide) is perhaps the best known, it's technically an agent approved only for type 2 diabetes that has been used off-label for obesity. The same substance, semaglutide, is approved for use in obesity, but at a higher dose, under the brand name Wegovy. Alternatives are available, and results will vary depending on the specific agent used and the individual.

Ultimately, I decided to try these new injections for myself. I am not a paid representative for, nor an advocate of, any of these medications. READ HERE as Dr. Swiner and others share their own personal experiences.

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About the Editor 

Dr. Michael LeNoir is just your neighborhood doc — a world-renowned allergist, a board-certified pediatrician, recognized expert on asthma in inner cities, and the President and Founder of AAWP. Serving the Bay Area since 1977, Dr. LeNoir has dedicated his career to helping African Americans navigate a healthcare system he saw first-hand that is fundamentally build on racial biases. Read More

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