Author Archives: Cheryl Woods Giscombe

A Lesson in Leadership—Inspiration Ignites Motivation

Dec 23, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by Cheryl Woods Giscombe

Cheryl L. Woods Giscombé, PhD, RN, PMHNP, is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar. Her research focuses on stress-related health behaviors, psychoneuroendocrine biomarkers, and sociocultural contextual factors that contribute to health disparities in African Americans.

file Woods Giscombé and Wakefield

On a cold, yet hopeful early spring day in Washington, D.C.,  my life as I knew it was about to change.  A world of possibilities—of seemingly unlimited potential—opened up for me as never before . . . This was the day that I met Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, a true nursing trailblazer.

The moment that I met her for the first time, I knew that I wanted to learn more. My immediate impression was that she was a dynamo—intelligent, spunky, energetic, warm, engaging, and confident. As I listened to her presentation during a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership seminar, my job as a Nurse Faculty Scholar was to better understand the essentials of exceptional leadership. My goal was to become more familiar with the professional and personal characteristics that facilitate effective changes in health policy, particularly for underserved individuals. She made those tasks amazingly easy, because she embodied the highest ideals of a leader—a nursing leader. I was more than inspired.  

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‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.’

Jan 21, 2013, 12:00 PM, Posted by Cheryl Woods Giscombe, Nalo Hamilton

-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in a speech to the Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1966

Nalo Hamilton, PhD, RN, WHNP/ANP-BC, is an assistant professor of nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing; and Cheryl Woods Giscombé, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Both are Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars.

The New Year has begun and marks a time of celebration and progress, while for others it is a time of uncertainty and despair. As we pause to remember the rich contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we should also reflect on how his legacy can be used to eliminate the health care disparities that so disturbingly affect the underserved and underrepresented in our nation today.

The World Health Organization has determined that geographic locale, ethnicity, education, environmental stress, and access to a health care system are social determinants of health and health inequities. These factors are influenced by the disparate distribution of resources, wealth, and power.

In the United States:

  • African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans have rates of diabetes that far exceed those in non-Hispanic whites.
  • African American women are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer compared to white women and have the highest rate of mortality.
  • Native Americans report more alcohol consumption and binge drinking than other racial/ethnic groups.
  • Hispanic males age 20 or younger have the highest prevalence of obesity compared to non-Hispanic whites and African Americans.
  • African American men and women are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than non-Hispanic whites.
  • Infant mortality occurs in African Americans 1.5 to 3 times more than in other races or ethnicities.

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