Toward More Individualized Medicine:
Introducing the Women of Color Health Data Book, Fourth Edition

By Dr. Janine A. Clayton

dr claytonReprinted from the October 2014 issue of the Journal of Women's Health. Written by Janine A. Clayton, M.D., FARVO; Claudette E. Brooks, M.D.; and Susan G. Kornstein, M.D.

Consider the following case study.

Daniela G., a 52-year-old moderately overweight Latina, arrives as a new patient at a family practice in her community. It is her first visit to the doctor since her youngest child was born 18 years earlier, thanks to newly acquired insurance coverage from the Affordable Care Act. Her complaints include difficulty seeing on the right side, mild headaches, and problems with concentration and writing.

What would be your first impression of this patient? Her vision and motor problems could be due to a fall, or they could be early signs of diabetes or hypertension-related stroke, both common in middle-age women with elevated body mass index. But as a woman of color, what features make Daniela unique with regard to health? How do race, ethnicity, and cultural influences affect the health of women of color like her in ways that might escape the attention of routine health care?

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