By Frederick H. Lowe
Black health practitioners are employing the Internet to assist African Americans in finding physicians, dentists and therapists who look like them.
FindaBlackDoctor.com recently relaunched its website and Black Therapy Love launched an App to assist African Americans in finding black mental health professionals. Blacks, particularly black men, suffer high rates of depression because of microaggressions they must contend with daily from whites, various racial groups and black women.
In one instance a black woman security guard at the Art Institute of Chicago told her white female partner that she wanted find out what I was up to while visiting the Art Institute.
The strong belief is that black patients may feel more comfortable discussing mental health issues and sharing physical health problems with an African American physician, a dentist or a mental health professional.
Tomina Ward, founder of Black Therapy Love and career counselor, said she has worked with both white and black therapists, but the payoff in meeting and in working with a black therapist was immediate.
“When I walked in and saw she looked like me, I just felt at ease. I was happy to see her. It’s like she’s gonna understand me, and I’m looking forward to her helping me. This sense of comfort was crucial and reassuring for Ward.
What encouraged Ward to develop an App was that she wanted to discuss her experiences and troubles with a black therapist, but she found next to impossible to locate one.
FindaBlackDoctor.com, which was first launched in 2005 by Dina D. Strachan, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, lists only licensed dentists and physicians who are board certified.
Despite the growth of doctor directories over the Internet, Dr. Strachan said it was not unusual to listen to a caller express frustration in finding an African American physician. She decided to bring back the website because the Internet has gotten more sophisticated.
“Black men particularly have better health outcomes when their doctor is the of the same race,” Dr. Strachan said.