‘The Color of Wellness’ magazine aims to close the wellness gaps within communities of color

Michelle Greene Rhodes will launch “The Color of Wellness” on Jan. 20

ST. PETERSBURG — Michelle Greene Rhodes, founder of Michelle Rhodes Media LLC in Tampa, has created an outlet for nurses to share their wellness expertise while helping the vulnerable communities they serve.

“The Color of Wellness” magazine will launch Jan. 20 and aims to educate communities of color in a more impactful way.

“The problem is that we can no longer work silently, or not make time outside of work to educate our communities,” explained Rhodes.

According to Americanactionforum.org, recent estimates attribute 10 to 20 percent of health outcomes to medical care, 30 percent to genetics, 40 to 50 percent to behavior and 20 percent to the social and physical environment. That means most of the work in terms of wellness happens outside of the hospital by social determinants (non-medical factors).

These social determinants include factors such as where individuals live, learn, work, and age, in addition to socioeconomic status and race. These social determinants of health have gotten a lot of attention recently, as research continues to show a person’s health can depend heavily on their zip code and circumstances in life.

Concerns on health equity and health inequality must continue to be raised. Although the healthcare industry is attempting to address these issues, it continues to go mostly unnoticed. The trend of increased spending on healthcare yet decreased wellness across the entire population, especially members of vulnerable demographics, must be brought to the table.

We have seen this magnified during the pandemic, during which this concept was born. Blacks have died at a substantially higher rate during this pandemic, and the question is why. Because in many of our vulnerable communities, our health lacked wellness, which has been linked and influenced by multiple socioeconomic factors.

A native of St. Pete, Rhodes decided to utilize her 20 plus years as a registered nurse who specialized in managed care (insurance) to see gaps in preventive education and chronic disease from a high level.

“By putting the pieces together, I recognized that the lack of wellness education was most often not in the equation within the lifestyles of communities of color,” she said.

On top of that, most of the healthcare dollars spent, Rhodes noticed, was being spent on chronic disease at end of the spectrum and not the former.

“Wellness is often missed and put into play a little too late most times when it comes to the Black community.”

Speaking from personal experience, Rhodes said she has struggled with bad nutritional habits all her life. When she thinks of good times growing up, eating soul food always played a large part.

“It has made it that much harder to establish healthier habits as an adult,” she stated. “It is my prayer to break these unhealthy cycles and that our communities can embrace healthier habits earlier in life.”

Rhodes called upon some of her best and brightest colleagues to help formulate the magazine. In her Facebook group of 4,000 nurse entrepreneurs — Nursepreneur Nation — she selected 12 executive contributors of various nursing backgrounds.

“They are the core engine of this historical publication,” Rhodes asserted. “It is because of them that we can now disseminate and discuss topics of wellness that concern people of color the most. By taking wellness concepts and well-being education into our hands, we can hopefully save lives by establishing healthier habits earlier in life.”

Rhodes said their goal is to decrease healthcare spending, help others establish healthier lifestyles and lay down the foundations of well-being as soon as possible.

“This is urgent; the time is now,” Rhodes said. “Our magazine breaks into zip codes and sets up shop wherever we are along this journey. We are ecstatic to elevate nurses and help our corporate partners disseminate cultured wellness information to elevate some and give hope to others.”

“The Color of Wellness Magazine will launch on Jan. 20 and has raised almost $10,000 in presales. Grab your subscription today at www.ColorOfWellness.co

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