Minnesota Association of Black Physicians Minnesota Association of Black Physicians

Recent Articles

Bunions can be a big pain in the toe 

 Early care reduces risk of disabling foot problems

 This is another “back by popular demand” reprint of a column originally published March 13, 2014. A new “Doctor’s Advice for Your Good Health” column will return next week. 

Dear Doctor: My aunt told me she has a painful bunion. What is that?  

A bunion is large bump that forms at the base of the big toe where the bone of the big toe attaches to the bones of the foot. When this happens, the big toe usually bends inwards, sometimes at a very extreme angle. Continue Reading →

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Many — but not all — skin lesions are harmless

Dear Doctor: At our family reunion up at the lake cabin, I noticed my grandfather had dozens of dark brown, rough moles on his back. Are these worrisome for skin cancer?  

Your grandfather’s “moles” are most likely harmless skin growths called seborrheic keratoses. They deserve to be evaluated and diagnosed by a dermatologist or primary care physician. If they are seborrheic

keratoses, they are not worrisome for skin cancer. They are very common, and some estimate that they occur in 20 percent of all people. They can occur as just a single lesion but most commonly occur in large numbers. They are most commonly found on the back and chest, but they can occur anywhere except the palms and soles. Continue Reading →

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What is Ebola Fever?

Ebola Fever is a viral infection. The virus causes the bleeding (hemorrhage) of internal organs and of the skin. It also causes the infected person to have a fever. It is also known as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. There is no vaccination against it. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever can kill up to 90 percent of those infected. It is named after the Ebola River, an area where one of the first cases was reported in 1976. There are several sub-types of the virus. The Zaire sub-type/strain is considered the most deadly. Continue Reading →

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Until there’s a cure, prevention is our best hope for controlling HIV/AIDS

Most skin diseases occur in people of all nationalities, regardless of their skin color. Certain problems encountered in the skin are more common in people with different hues of skin, and sometimes a disorder seems more prominent because it affects skin color. This week continues our review of these disorders and their treatment.  

Dermatosis papulosa nigra

This most commonly occurs in African American patients. Being diagnosed with HIV, a potentially life-threatening disease, can be extremely troubling, but with proper treatment, HIV infection is no longer the automatic death sentence it used to be. Unfortunately, AIDS continues to devastate the African American community, as well as parts of Africa, Haiti and Asia where good treatments are not readily available. Continue Reading →

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Early detection of prostate cancer can save lives

It’s especially important that Black men over 40 discuss this with their doctor

African American men are 65 percent more likely than Caucasian men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. Additionally, African American men are 2½ times more likely to die from prostate cancer than Caucasian men. Prostate cancer tends to appear sooner in African American men, and the type of prostate cancer in African American men tends to be more aggressive, meaning it can spread beyond the prostate to other areas of the body. We are not sure why African American men fall victim to prostate cancer more so than others, but emerging research suggests factors including genetics, socio-economic status, nutritional status, lifestyle/social habits (including smoking), and access to medical care make a big difference in the long-term survival of men with prostate cancer. The US Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) has made prostate cancer screening recommendations, starting at age 50. Unfortunately, these recommendations are controversial, and some physicians don’t believe they take into account the higher risks and death rates seen in African American men with prostate cancer.  

What can men do right now? Have a discussion with your doctor at your next visit. If you are over the age of 30 and have not had a general medical examination in two years, make an appointment today. Continue Reading →

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An enlarged prostate has some annoying symptoms

It can also cause serious health problems if not treated

African American men have had the highest prostate cancer rate of any group in the world. African American men have an almost 70 percent higher rate of prostate cancer than in Caucasians and almost double the rate of prostate cancer in Asians. Before discussing prostate cancer, this week we will first discuss general prostate health. Next week we will discuss prostate cancer.  

What is the prostate? The prostate is considered part of the male reproductive system. It is a small gland, normally about the size of a walnut. Continue Reading →

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What is an allergic skin reaction?

At readers’ request, this week we are reprinting Dr. Crutchfield’s column on allergic skin reactions first published in our March 20 issue.  

Dear Doctor: My skin is red and itchy. How do I know if I am having an allergic skin reaction? An allergic skin reaction is a common skin rash that occurs when your skin comes into contact with a substance you have an allergy to. It is often called “allergic contact skin dermatitis.” There are other types of allergies, namely those from things you eat (peanuts, for example) or breathe in (pollen and seasonal allergies). This article will only talk about the rash one gets from substances that touch or “contact” the skin. The most common natural allergic contact dermatitis is from a plant oil found in the leaves of the poison ivy plant. Continue Reading →

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Lyme disease can cause serious health problems if left untreated

What is Lyme disease? 

Lyme disease is a disease that is caused by a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi). It is commonly found in North America and Europe. It is spread by deer ticks. Deer ticks bite and feed on the blood of animals and on humans. When they bite an animal that is infected with the bacteria and then bite a human, the bacteria can be transferred to the human through the blood. Continue Reading →

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Don’t just sit there — do something!













and Tamiko Morgan, MD


Eighty-six percent of Americans sit all day at work. We remember the days when we “envied” those who had the ability to sit at work. As practicing physicians, much of our time at work was spent on our feet, and sitting was often considered a treat on a busy day! Now that we have transitioned to jobs that require less physical exertion, we wondered just how beneficial or detrimental this change would be. Sedentary jobs are those that are characterized by or involve sitting. Continue Reading →

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Brand-name vs. generic medications: Which is best?

By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD


Dr. Crutchfield, I went to pick up a prescription and instead of the brand-name drug my doctor prescribed, the pharmacy gave me a generic drug. Is this ok?  

The vast majority of patients experience the same results from a brand or a generic medication. That being said, it is unclear to doctors why, rarely, patients report they respond better or differently to either a brand-name medicine or a generic medicine when they are equivalent. In fact, brand-name drugs and generic drugs have the same active ingredients in the same exact amounts. The term for this is “bioequivalent.” Some patients are unaware they have the same active ingredients and can get confused. 

Brand-name medicines almost always cost more than generic drugs, and some people mistakenly think that if it costs more, it must work better. Some attribute this to the “placebo effect.” Sometimes the cost difference can be so significant that unless a generic is used, the patient could not afford the medicine. Continue Reading →

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