Healthcare Access Inequities Among African Americans in WNC: A Historical Context

October 27, 2020

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The current sociocultural climate in the United States elucidate the importance of understanding our humanity while fostering deeper cross-cultural relationships. As the nation is currently facing two pandemics, one health related and the other racial, our ability to engage in thoughtful and meaningful discourse on cultural issues remains ever present. This two-part presentation addresses the impact of access related historical trauma on African Americans not only across the United States but with a historical context within Western North Carolina and significantly so in Buncombe County. These traumas have been faithfully reproduced throughout history and has contributed greatly in the shaping of what is being experienced currently in the form of health and healthcare disparities. In part two, the presenter will focus on the principles and practice of cultural humility and the importance of understanding how one’s own cultural background contribute to multicultural relationships, both personally and professionally.

More about the presenter: 


Sharon Kelly West is an international speaker, historian and published author focusing on healthcare disparities and culturally appropriate approaches to medical care inclusive of the topic of cultural humility. She is a well-known keynote speaker, workshop leader and panelist addressing various cultural health topics. Dr. West also serves as adjunct  nursing faculty where she teaches  Systems- level Leadership and Ethics for nurses at Mars Hill University (NC). Dr. West has been appointed by two governors of North Carolina to serve on the NC Commission of Public Health in the registered nurse seat.

A registered nurse, West received her undergraduate degree in nursing from Winston-Salem State University(NC), Master of Science (Western Carolina University (NC), post graduate studies in Clinical Ethics at Wake Forest University (NC) and completed doctoral studies in Clinical Ethics from Albany Medical College (NY). She is currently Nurse Manager of Women Veteran Services at the Veterans Administration Medical Center Asheville and a freelance columnist for the Asheville Citizen Times on various health topics. Her publications on health care preferences of African Americans at the end of life have appeared in Home Care Nurse National Journal and Omega Journal of Death and Dying.

Along with the elimination of health disparities, Dr. West’s interests include the impact of racial stratification on the health and health-related decisions of adults, culturally appropriate medical decision- making at the end of life in African Americans and Medical access options for African Americans 1890-1960.

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