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A Greensboro Nurse Fights African American Health Disparities

Pickett measures her patient's height.
Courtesy of UNC Greensboro
Stephanie Pickett focuses her work on health disparities in African American patients.

When Stephanie Pickett was a nurse at Duke University Medical Center, more than 90% of the patients she saw with kidney failure were black. This shocking racial health disparity both bewildered her and inspired her to take action.

She went back to school to become a nurse practitioner, continued on to get her doctorate and focused her research on addressing the high rates of diabetes and hypertension in African Americans. Pickett’s recent work has investigated the relationship between the beliefs people have about their weight and their eating habits. For example, African American women who think their weight is caused by circumstances and factors out of their control are more likely to be obese.

Her mission is to develop effective health interventions for African American patients. Today she is an assistant professor of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Host Frank Stasio talks to Pickett about her research and what she is digging into next.

Amanda Magnus is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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