Black History Month gives us an opportunity for such an important element of the American culture, our Black culture, to help educate us and to increase our level of empathy and caring for one another. During this month, we will have an opportunity to learn, to become students, to become more appreciative, and to become more involved.
In my family, Black History Month has always been a time to reflect on the historical triumphs and continued struggles of African Americans, not only in U.S. history but throughout the diaspora. Each year, I find interesting new facts about just how amazing we are! As co-chair of the Black at Applied Community of Interest, I consider extending these traditions to our Applied family important.
Since 1976, each Black History Month has been assigned a theme. This year’s theme is Health & Wellness.
Connecting to Black at Applied
As we enter our second annual Black History Month celebration sponsored by Black at Applied, it’s a great time to reflect on not only the victories won but the challenges still before us – voting rights, implicit bias, and racial disparities in healthcare, among many others. We ask: What does Black History Month mean to you, and where do you currently stand in the fight for equality and change?
Improving Health & Wellness in Our Communities
When it comes to healthcare, implicit bias – a bias that is present but not consciously held or recognized – can shape how medical providers interact with patients. While not consciously intended, implicit bias can significantly influence clinical outcomes and strain patient-provider relationships for several generations.
Healthcare inequities can arise from a combination of interacting factors, including racism and discrimination, health care access and quality, individual behaviors, and biology, and have harmful impacts. According to the CDC, the four most common causes of illness, disability, and death are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. These four chronic conditions and the factors that lead to them are more common and severe in some racial groups than others.
Jo Saul, my colleague and co-chair at Black at Applied, shared this story,
“In 1969, my grandfather died in his 50s from a diabetic coma. Could he have lived longer if there had not been medical biases in his treatment? What if our family had been less affected by the socio-economic factors that contribute to diabetes? What if the Black community had a legacy of prioritizing our wellness? I hope that this month we take actions that build up health and wellness for our communities.”
How Applied Is Raising Black Health & Wellness Awareness
Throughout February, Black at Applied plans to use several mediums to raise awareness of Black Health & Wellness.
A monthlong Health and Wellness Fitness Competition to engage in friendly competition while getting our health in “check.” The employee with the most steps at the end of the contest wins a prize.
A Black History Month Office Party with in-house DJs who are also Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging advocates. Employees can open Zoom and listen to great tunes, learn interesting facts, and win great prizes.
A discussion around “Fading Legacies.” So much family history is lost from generation to generation. Our employees will come together to share experiences, gain new perspectives, and explore opportunities to restore family legacy.
A comedy show featuring stand-up comedian and TikTok phenom Jazmyn W, who’s sure to have Team Applied “laughing in the aisles.” We know laughter is the best medicine, and what better way to end Black History Month’s focus on Health and Wellness with one of the best remedies of all!
What is your company doing to bridge the gap and bring awareness to Black Health & Wellness?
Applied Epic Product Owner and Co-Chair of the Black at Applied Community of Interest
Erika Moore has been with Applied Systems since May 2011. She is an Applied Epic Product Owner and serves as a Co-Chair of the Black at Applied Community of Interest. In October 2021, Erika was selected by her peers as an Applied All-Star, one of the highest levels of recognition in our company. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and playing soccer.