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Looking at the Dark Side through Hope

The past 2 weeks’ episodes have had heavy themes: “Disparities in Healthcare for African Americans”, with Daihnia Dunkley on September 30th and “Human Trafficking: Intersection with Healthcare", with Tammy Toney-Butler on October 7th. These are both topics many healthcare providers would like to believe do not exist or at the very least do not exist close to us. The input of both of these thoughtful, VERY knowledgeable guests takes the subjects to a place of compassion and realization that there is Hope and it only takes the efforts of people who care.

​For many years, research has told us loud and clear that the health outcomes for African Americans (AA) are completely out of step with the White Americans and even other people of color. Many of us who are white, heard “Oh, that is really too bad that this population has poor genes, poor eating and exercise habits. Really a shame!” Fortunately, there are more than a few providers that asked the question, “What are we, the Healthcare industry, doing to create or increase these differences? What comes from that question is the realization that many of us, subtly and inconspicuously, interact and treat these individuals differently. Do we answer all questions thoroughly? Do we ignore danger signs until they are major health crises? Do we make prejudicial assumptions, without proof, that it is too hard for these people to be as healthy as other populations. The maternal and infant death statistics for AA and their babies is worse than some 3rd world countries. Dr. Daihnia Dunkley has made the study of Population Health her mission and is working hard to both bring attention to the problem and inspire the healthcare industry to focus attention on these needs on an everyday basis in clinics across the country. Check out the podcast of this show on

​Human Trafficking is another of those topics most of us would prefer to just push away. I certainly have been one of them. My knowledge of this problem was limited to occasional news stories and TV drama shows—usually of the law and order cops’ genre. More frightening than enlightening. My first personal experience was when I rented a room to a young friend from another country, who had herself been in the grips of the Trafficking nightmare happening all over the world. The story came out slowly and over a long period of time. What made me want to look at this issue more closely was when I realized that frequently it is healthcare personnel who are the thin lifeline of hope for people caught up in this horrible industry.

​Tammy Toney-Butler is a deep and wide wealth of information on this topic, having experienced abuse in her life in early years, the welfare of others being abused was a natural and perfect mission for her to utilize her nursing education and knowledge. Tammy spoke eloquently and humbly about the needs and the potential solutions. She especially encouraged ALL healthcare providers to know the signs and symptoms of trafficking and abuse, so that they can help identify and protect clients that are (often) silently reaching out to them for help, while briefly in the ED, OR, Med/Surg, OB/L&D Departments. Listen to this Podcast on to bring this subject to FRONT of mind as you go about the work you do daily.

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