African heritage

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Eliminating health disparities is Liberian native’s passion


By Michelle Lawrence

Contributing Writer


People of African heritage in Minnesota experience higher rates of chronic disease, morbidity and mortality compared to nearly every other cultural group in the state, according to fact sheets compiled by the Minnesota Department of Health. Yet, despite these dismal facts, which would discourage some and certainly overwhelm others, there are women champions in our community. One such champion is Dr. Wilhelmina Holder, executive director of W.I.S.E (Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment), who work diligently every day to improve the health status of Minnesota residents of African heritage, and to reduce disparities among them and other cultural groups in the state, particularly residents of European American descent. Growing up in her native country of Liberia in West Africa, Dr. Holder learned from concrete experience that access to health care can improve health statistics and save lives. “I am driven by the teachings of Jesus Christ,” she says when asked of her personal and professional motives. Continue Reading →

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