What is Medicine?
Medicine is an occupation aimed at protecting, promoting, and restoring good health with a focus on identifying, diagnosing, and treating illnesses using evidence-based therapies. Western medicine techniques are commonly known as allopathic medicine. Allopathic medicine involves the use of medication and surgical techniques to achieve health, well-being, and promote the prevention of illness. The scope of medicine extends beyond the clinical setting to include: biomedical research, psychotherapy, genetics, and more. The primary concern in the medical profession is delivering individualized patient care, transmitting scientific knowledge, and being a life-long learner.
American Medical Association – https://www.ama-assn.org/
What is a Physician Assistant?
A Physician Assistant (or PA) is a mid-level healthcare provider that can work in multiple settings diagnosing patients, prescribing medications, and even assisting in surgery. A certified Physician Assistant (PA-C) has received a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, completed all the prerequisites required to become accepted into and complete a rigorous 2-3 year program, receiving a Master of Medicine degree, and has passed the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE).
PA's are a newer concept to healthcare, especially in the southeast. To some, the PA job description is similar to that of a Nurse Practitioner (NP). PAs, however, are trained using a medical model (curriculum) that is more similar to medical school, instead of a nursing model that is used in training nurses and NPs. NP's can practice medicine independently while PA's must work under a Physician.
American Academy of Physician Assistants – https://www.aapa.org
What is Chiropractic Medicine?
Chiropractic is one of the most sought after holistic health care professions. Chiropractors go through extensive training to become experts on anatomy and physiology of the body to provide patient care, therapeutic interventions, and to focus on patients’ overall health and well-being. Some chiropractors use procedures such as massage therapy, rehabilitative exercise, and ultrasound in addition to spinal adjustments and manipulation. Patients can seek out chiropractic care in private practices, hospitals, healthcare clinics, or rehabilitation centers.
Chiropractors areas of expertise include:
● The spine, joints, and neck
● Using neuromusculoskeletal expertise to treat a wide variety of symptoms
● Approaching healing from a holistic and naturopathic point of view
● Administering diagnostic tests such as x-rays
● Researching a patient’s medical history
● Manually adjusting a patient’s spine, hips, knees, and other joints
● Recommending lifestyle changes and diet as part of a more comprehensive treatment regimen
What is a Doula?
Most everyone is aware of primary healthcare professionals, such as a doctor or a nurse, but are you familiar with the work of a doula? Many people often confuse midwives and doulas. According to DONA International, a doula is defined as "a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible." There are several types of doulas, such as Antepartum Doula, Abortion Doula, Adoption Doula, Birth Doula, Death Doula, and Postpartum Doula. Learn more about each of these career paths here. but I am going to be highlighting Birth and Postpartum doulas. As suggested by the name, a birth doula's role is to help out during pregnancy and delivery, including things such as creating a birth plan and teaching different techniques to get through labor. The postpartum doula may help with teaching to breastfeed the baby, running errands, cooking dinner, and much more.
American research from the years 2007 to 2016 show that there was a significantly higher pregnancy mortality rate in Black women & other women of color. Those statistics, unfortunately, have not changed over time. The current mortality statistics, according to the CDC, pertaining to Black women are 37.1 per 100,000 live births, which are about 2-3 times higher than white women. Essentially, this means black women, despite socioeconomic status, are dying at an alarming rate while giving birth. Giving birth is supposed to be one of the most joyful moments of a woman's life, and that experience is taken from Black women, along with their life. Why is it being stolen from Black women? The simple answer is not enough representation.
Before moving on, let us clarify the similarities and differences between a Doula and a Midwife, as many people outside of these professions are unaware of these differences.
Contributions by: Tyona Golden MSMS, MD Candidate; Shyra Cotton, PA-C; Chelsea Davis MS, DC Candidate;