Dr. Tosha Rogers Talks Black Health, Pain Relief and Why We Need Culturally Competent Doctors

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Dr. Tosha Rogers answers vital questions about pain management and countering the harmful impact that systemic racism has had on Black health.

The HIV education advocate and OBGYN sits down with host Ericka Dunlap to discuss how patients can approach healthcare despite deep-rooted biases about Black health and the general lack of cultural competence in the medical field.

Advil’s Pain Equity Project is shedding light on this matter and working toward equitable and accessible pain relief for Black communities.

Safe and Effective Pain Relief

“There’s a myth that still exists today that Black people have a higher threshold for pain than others,” says Dunlap. “And with maternal death rates being highest for Black women in the U.S., it’s a myth that needs to be dispelled and treated with urgent attention.”

When treating aches and pains, Dr. Rogers tells her patients, “Never bring a gun to a knife fight.”

“Never assume that the strongest medication is the best medication,” the doctor adds. “One of my go-to’s, one of my favorites, is Advil. And the reason is that not only does it treat inflammation, it treats pain … So it’s a medication that has multiple uses.”

By addressing a range of symptoms from headache to minor arthritis pain to fever, Advil offers safe, effective and accessible pain relief.

Why We Need Culturally Competent Doctors

“[Systemic racism] manifests in so many different ways,” Dunlap says. “And regardless of socioeconomic status, Black people remain in danger of falling victim to health inequity and healthcare biases. So would you agree that our reproductive health needs, in particular, warrant a more discerning, vigilant approach?”

“Absolutely, 100 percent,” Dr. Rogers agrees. “Our reproductive issues and concerns in the Black community are very much unique to our culture.”

Cultural competence is defined as “the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients.” Clearly, having cultural awareness is incredibly important for doctors and other healthcare professionals to be able to provide quality medical care and minimize racial disparities in healthcare.

“You absolutely have to understand the culture,” the doctor tells Dunlap. “And if you do not, you will not be effective in caring for Black patients.”

The doctor adds that the state of Black health relies on teaching cultural competence to medical professionals in the field. “It is important for health systems to teach cultural competency. Every culture is going to be different. Wherever you are practicing … you have to understand their culture.”

Empowered To Be Your Own Health Advocate

In the face of health inequity and biases that impact Black health, Dr. Rogers affirms that patients can advocate for better treatment.

“If it’s a doctor’s office, if it’s a hospital, there are chains of command. So there’s always someone to speak to to be able to articulate your concerns. And don’t be afraid to put it in writing,” she explains. “In the worst case scenario, if you feel like you’re not being treated fairly, don’t be afraid to involve the state medical board. They are obligated to investigate every claim, and they will.”

The Pain Equity Project developed by Advil facilitates these necessary conversations to work toward a system where pain relief is accessible and equitable for Black communities everywhere.

Watch more from Advil’s A Healthier Us campaign here.