by Jennifer Sharp
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there are major healthcare disparities among minorities and that African Americans have been greatly impacted by the pandemic, which has caused growing cases in the community.
According to Jeffrey Sterling, MD, MPH, FACEP, there are several interesting reasons for overrepresentation of COVID-19 in African Americans including:
Clustering in America’s most populous cities
Disproportionately represented in front line “essential” jobs (janitors, cashiers, bus drivers, etc.)
Greater presence of preexisting conditions
Inadequate housing and higher representation in homeless population
Fortunately, there are African American healthcare professionals who are striving to educate our community about COVID-19 and how to live healthier lifestyles. Dr. Jamie Hardy, MCPS, MS, also known as The Lifestyle Pharmacist®, is changing lives one day at a time.
Dr. Hardy is a well-respected, board-certified pharmacist who has successfully built her brand on helping women become fit, fabulous and fulfilled without prescribed pills. She is also the founder and chief lifestyle curator of Innovative Wellness, LLC, a lifestyle company that provides coaching, lifestyle experiences, and live events to teach women how to detox, find balance, eat healthier, and effectively manage stress. Her followers are known as the #FABSQUAD.
The importance of education and a love of learning was instilled in Dr. Hardy as a child and science has always been the subject that she has enjoyed most. While she was at home in Memphis during her undergraduate studies at Xavier.
University, her grandmother was in a serious car accident. While visiting her in the hospital, Dr. Hardy encountered a Black female pharmacist who made sure that her grandmother had the right medications to heal and to feel better. After this experience, she changed her major from biology pre-med to pursue her career as a clinical pharmacist.
“What has remained constant is my desire to make a positive impact on the lives of people beyond the hospital walls,” said Dr. Hardy. “That’s why I am using my experience and expertise to help people to be fit, fabulous and fulfilled without prescribed pills® through my company Innovative Wellness, LLC.”
Due to the pandemic and the stay-at- home order in March coupled with the alarming increase in new cases since May, Dr. Hardy suspended all travel and canceled her in-person speaking engagements. She also decided to postpone the spring installment of live wellness events that she hosts in Memphis called The FAB Gathering, where women are taught how to activate the power of their food, actions and beliefs so that they can design the life of their dreams.
Fortunately, Dr. Hardy is leveraging the power of technology by serving as a virtual conference speaker and connecting with the #FABSQUAD through a virtual series on Facebook called “Live With the #FABSQUAD,” which has received positive responses. She is now transitioning to a virtual experience for their fall wellness summit.
Dr. Hardy is committed to doing what she can to help make health achievable for all by using her platform to facilitate dialogue, connecting with grassroots groups and organizations in the community that have existing initiatives around public health, health equity and food insecurity, and political engagement.
“Silence about injustice sends the wrong message. The pandemic has without a doubt exposed the systems and policies designed to keep black and brown communities sick and (to) cut our lives short,” said Dr. Hardy. “As an African American clinical pharmacist, I have a responsibility to help expose and eliminate the inequalities that negatively impact the health of my community.”
During this pandemic, minority healthcare workers are facing both emotional and physical challenges while working. Dr. Hardy has some valuable knowledge for minority healthcare professionals who are navigating through the pandemic.
“My advice to minority healthcare workers is to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Finding something to occupy the mind like a hobby, reading, or journaling are suggestions. Lastly, doing something outside of work to help others can connect them with their purpose and even produce feelings of fulfillment. Volunteering with community groups, making donations to organizations and advocacy groups, and even mentoring children and youth are great outlets that will also make a positive impact," said Dr. Hardy.
She also offers four simple things that we can do to remain healthy while being safer at home:
Listen to the recommendations and facts of scientists and public health experts.
Eat healthier by preparing your meals and snacks at home.
Stay physically active.
Create a calm and relaxing environment in your home that helps to nurture and replenish you.
“Throughout this entire experience, one thing that has become apparent is that our home environments must be places that foster peace and healing,” said Dr. Hardy.
To learn more about Dr. Jamie Hardy, visit drjamiehardy.com.
Jennifer Sharp is a freelance writer for Writing by Design Media. She can be reached at @ firstname.lastname@example.org.