'Real change': Colorful mural boosts awareness of health care needs

Anthony Wilson Image
Monday, July 10, 2023
Colorful mural boosts awareness of health care needs
Duke Health honors the rich diversity and cultural heritage in Durham with a new mural.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's a huge, colorful mural on an entire wall inside Duke Research at Pickett Road, designed by artist Max Dowdie and painted by members of the community.

Duke's Clinical and Transitional Science Institute (CTSI) organized the Research Equity and Diversity Initiative (READI) project as part of its effort to help researchers and members of the community collaborate on representation and better health care while celebrating Durham's diversity.

Dr. Nadine Barrett of READI told ABC11 how they plan to assist and advocate for more people.

"All the way from education and awareness to screening, to treatment, and to end-of-life care if that's the case as well. African Americans, people of Black ancestry are more likely to both get kidney disease and die from kidney disease compared to any other ethnic group. And that's due to multiple factors. One of them simply access," Barrett said. "Some of it terms of bias and inequities that exist within the health care system, that prevents Black people from getting access to some of those services."

The advocates and researchers also worked on establishing contacts for future studies that could save lives and boost wellness.

"Research for adults 75 and up is important, because there's a lot of things we don't know in healthcare, and dementia is a very important area of research," said Trina Phan, a member of the Preventable Study Team.

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The work of advocates did not stop on Saturday. They distributed reminders that can be worn or displayed, which can be seen by others who missed the weekend opportunity.

"It has to be a long-term commitment, to partner with the community in a very even way," said Duke's Vice Dean for Clinical Research Susanna Naggie. "to begin to raise awareness of the importance of this and the fact that we can change it."

She and others behind the effort want to maintain connections established outside the Duke Research building.

"To the point where it's not just Duke or UNC or NCCU bringing research to the community, it's the community bringing research to us. To say 'These are the diseases that we think are important.' That's when we know that we've made some real change," Naggie said.