The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Obesity Medicine & Healthcare Disparities with Dr. Yolandra Hancock

Dr. Yolandra Hancock discusses obesity medicine, acknowledging the validity of reluctance towards vaccines and healthcare disparities in communities of color.

  • [01:08] Why Dr. Hancock Chose Pediatrics
  • [03:40] How Students Can Advocate for Decreasing Health Disparities
  • [09:06] Obesity Medicine and Effective Public Policy
  • [13:12] COVID-19 and Communities of Color
  • [24:06] Addressing Vaccine-skepticism
  • [28:20] Dr. Hancock’s Advice to Pre-meds and Medical Students

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Yolandra Hancock, MD. Dr. Yolandra Hancock is a board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine specialist. She combines her hands-on clinical experience and public health expertise with her passion for building vibrant families and communities by providing patient empowering, “best in class” health & wellness care to children and adolescents who are fighting childhood obesity. In this episode, Dr. DeRouen talks to Dr. Hancock about obesity medicine, acknowledging the validity of reluctance towards vaccines and healthcare disparities in communities of color.

How Students Can Advocate for Decreasing Health Disparities

To effectively advocate for decreasing health disparities, students and healthcare providers must first recognize the social determinants of health and understand that 80% of a person’s health outcomes are defined by where they are born and raised and where they learn, live, work, and play.

Communities of color often live in areas where they are exposed to higher levels of risk. These communities’ collective health is primarily determined by limited access to education and healthcare and their neighborhoods’ predominant industries. People’s personal choices are, to a large extent, determined by the environment in which they live. A commitment to understanding the environment in which your patients live and the resources they can access allows you to make better recommendations regarding their health. On a higher level, that understanding enables you to advocate more effectively for decreasing disparities in healthcare. Over and above that, understanding your own biases will allow you to provide better one-on-one care to your patients.

Obesity Medicine and Effective Public Policy

Dr. Hancock is actively engaged in creating large-scale policy changes with the potential to affect public health and lifestyle change. She has worked with other government departments to Create innovative, culturally relevant programming to get the public interested in their health and influence the behavior of the community at large, to extend her impact beyond her own office.

One of her greatest successes is her work on the Prince George’s County Healthy Kids meals bill. The bill ensures options for kid’s meals that limit calories, sugar, salt, and fat and provides at least one meal offer that meets USDA guidelines. It also makes water, milk, and 100% fruit or vegetable juice the default drink for all kids’ meals.

Addressing Vaccine Skepticism

Dr. Hancock urges that physicians have a responsibility to acknowledge the validity of the reluctance people may feel surrounding the vaccine. In her work as a pediatrician, Dr. Hancock deals with vaccine hesitancy often. To address the growing hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccines, she works first to understand where that hesitancy originates. She determines how they make general medical decisions and if they have specific concerns with the vaccine with her patients. When she gains a better understanding of their apprehensions, she may be able to directly address their pain points and act as a medical translator for misunderstood information.

Dr. Hancock’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students

“Be patient and allow the journey to play out.”

There will be an opportunity to learn in any experience that presents itself to you.  Everyone makes mistakes but learning from your mistakes facilitates personal growth. Don’t be embarrassed by your mistakes, but instead, find support.  There is a purpose in your journey.

You can get in touch with Dr. Hancock on Facebook and her website.

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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