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5 Black Women Who Advocate for Health and Wellness

It's no secret that the black community disproportionately faces more health disparities than most other races of people in America.

In recent years, there has been an uptick of black women in particular taking control of their health. Many of them have dedicated years of their lives to acquiring and applying the necessary tools to creating health and wellness programs and organizations.

Over the last few years, they have shared their knowledge, resources, and passion with the public in an effort to help us work our way around the inequities that keep many of us unhealthy.

In honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, here are some of the women and their work that have revolutionized health and wellness.

  1. Our forever First Lady, Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama has notoriously been campaigning against childhood obesity since her husband took the office of President in 2008.

Her fitness organization, Let's Move!, while targeted towards children, was instrumental in helping over 80 million Americans of all ages get up and get active. Several celebrities and political figures also joined in on the movement.

Michelle was also instrumental in getting public schools around the country to serve students healthier meals, and substituting vending machines full of sugary juices and sodas with those full of flavored waters instead. 2. Sariane Leigh

Sariane Leigh is a Washington, DC based wellness activist. She refers to herself as the "Anacostia Yogi" in honor of her native DC neighborhood.

Sariane is a fierce advocate for healthy eating and meditation, especially as a way to counter the specific health issues that plague Black women in her community, such as fibroids, high blood pressure and digestive issues.

She started offering free yoga classes at the local libraries and community centers. Sariane refers to her teachings as a "revolutionary act of service", as she saw a need in her predominantly black, underprivileged community, and decided she needed to be the one to fulfill it. 3. Terrie Williams

Terrie Williams is perhaps most well known for her extensive public relations and communications career, having owned and operated her own firm, The Terrie Williams Agency, for over 40 years (she closed the company in 2018 to pursue other endeavors).

Some of her most notable clients included Eddie Murphy, Prince, Janet Jackson, Russell Simmons, Johnnie Cochran, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, and countless Fortune 500 companies just to name a few.

However, Terrie is on this list due to her mental health advocacy. It's well known amongst the Black community that a large amount of our community has vocalized their disdain for seeking mental health services.

Terrie wrote the book Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting, (one of her four best selling books) with the hope that the admittance of her own struggles with clinical debilitating depression would help other Black people recognize the signs of depression and seek help for themselves.

4. Ernestine Sheperd

At 85 years of age, Ernestine Sheperd is the oldest living female bodybuilder in the world, and has a Guinness World Record to prove it.

She was 56 when she started her fitness journey, which was invigorated further with the death of her sister from a brain aneurysm.

Since then, Ernestine has run 9 marathons, won two bodybuilding competitions, and authored a book titled Determined, Dedicated, Determined to be Fit: The Ageless Journey of Ernestine Sheperd.

Not only is she still an active bodybuilder, but she runs fitness classes for the seniors in her church. 5. Dr. Regina Benjamin

Dr. Benjamin was appointed Surgeon General of the United States by President Obama in 2009, where she oversaw a vast network of public health officers.

She also served as the first chair of the National Prevention Council, and conglomeration of 17 federal level agencies. Before she took on those responsibilities, she founded the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic in an underprivileged Golf Coast community.

She and her team worked to serve the insured and uninsured members of the community; sometimes Dr. Benjamin even personally made her way to her patient's residences to administer care in places that were further away.

She was also the first physician under 40 and first Black woman to be elected to the board of the American Medical Association. To this day, she works to provide support to other physicians looking to open clinics in underrepresented communities. We hope you continue to have a very educational Women's History Month! We'd also like to kindly ask you to leave us a glowing a review on Google if you're enjoying our content and services! Thank you!

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