There are many programs available to help adults navigate their health and change their eating and living habits to promote wellness. The Black Health Academy, the brainchild of founder, Lisa A. Smith, is one of the most comprehensive of these programs, offering masterclasses in exercise, plant based eating, mental health, and community education to assist African-Americans to eradicate chronic health concerns and live healthy lives. For the many of us who use coaches, trainers, nutritionists, and sites like The Black Health Academy. (1)
Dr. Latisha N. Carter-Blanks, MD, MPH is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics The University of Michigan Medical School and a Pediatric Clinician at Michigan Medicine Northville Health Center. Dr, Carter-Blanks is a Black Woman who was educated in Detroit Public Schools and received her medical degree at Wayne State University, so she is well versed in the urban experience and the importance of promoting health to children in our community. I spoke with Dr. Carter-Blanks about promoting health and wellness, and her medical opinion was right on par with the research.
What made you want to be a doctor?
LNCB: I always knew I wanted to be a doctor since I was around age 3 years old.
What called you to pediatrics?
LNCB: I had an awesome pediatrician growing up, Dr. William C. Heath. I think he played a role in me wanting to become a pediatrician.. I almost did Med/Peds which is the practice of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, but I fast realized that I didn’t like non-compliant adults. I am also a big advocate of preventive care/medicine and that is 99% of what we do in pediatrics.
When you see a child patient, what is your ultimate goal for them?
LNCB: My goal is to grow up healthy children who will in turn become healthy adults.
Is there a formula for promoting healthy children that parents can follow or seek to improve in their child’s life?
LNCB: To have a healthy child, you must first nurture them. I think being active in your child’s life and showing them through actions that you care about them makes a world of difference in terms of healthy development. Without this a child cannot grow physically or emotionally. Secondly a healthy child is one that is active. We have to encourage our children to become more active. Whether it’s having a dance party in your living room or playing on a sports team, active bodies help sustain active minds. Finally healthy children must be safe. Children can’t be healthy if they don’t feel safe. If you can’t go out and play because they are shooting on your block you can’t get active. If you don’t feel safe your mental and physical health will suffer.
If you had to define a healthy child, what characteristics would that child have?
LNCB: A healthy child is one who is physically and mentally sound. One that has someone to nurture them, a safe environment to grow in and a healthy amount of activity.
So there you have it, the tools to ensuring our future doctors, lawyers, wellness professionals, and writers live a happy and healthy life! Nurturing your children by being an active parent who shows them the power of making positive decisions and the joys of life through your actions, protecting them from harm, and encouraging physical activity to keep their minds and bodies strong and healthy are the keys of health to opening a fruitful life! Additionally, being adults who promote health, much like founder Lisa A. Smith and Dr. Carter-Blanks, we provide our children with models of Black professionals who are dedicated to the improvement of our community health! The Black Health Academy “loves the kids”, and Dr. Carter-Blacks is “for the children”!!!!
“Teach them well, and let them lead the way”
(excerpt from the Greatest Love of All written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed)
1. BMC Public Health, 2015, https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1471-2458-13-1100
First Publushed at The Black Health Academy site.