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5 black millennial doctors describe being on the frontlines

We interviewed some of medicine’s finest to gauge their experience working within the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the doctorsbyZahara Hill

| April 14 2020, 3:04 pm

The role of doctors is more crucial now than ever as the novel coronavirus claims thousands of lives throughout the globe on a daily basis. In the United States, the virus has run rampant. On Friday, there were over 2,000 COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. alone. It’s also within the nation that Black communities are being hit even more harshly, in part due to preexisting health inequities along racial lines and bogus conspiracy theories

We took this time to talk with a few Black millennial doctors to see what their experiences have been like on the frontlines, to ask how they’ve been coping with playing such a pivotal role in the crisis and to get some insight as to how other Black millennials can stay of sound mind, body and spirit. 

If they look familiar, you probably saw them when the #Don’tRushChallenge took over the Black medical field.

Dr. Eva Beaulieu, 37, Internal Medicine Hospitalist in Atlanta, Georgia

What’s been the most challenging part of this? 

Making difficult decisions in a fast-moving context. The virus tends to affect people severely, and the patients become ill fast. This is a new virus that we have never dealt with before, and we still have a lot to learn. We all have seen death and we have been conditioned to deal with difficult situations daily, but this is different because of the scope of the disease.  

What’s been the most rewarding?

My inspiration is my patients. It’s knowing that I am wanted, expected and needed. But the most rewarding is knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of many, regardless of the circumstances.

How are you tending to yourself in such a chaotic time?

As we treat the coronavirus, healthcare professionals have been reporting high rates of anxiety and depression. We fear getting infected with the virus and also exposing our loved ones. 

How I tend to myself? I try to eat a well-balanced meal, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep when I can. I also try to limit the amount of time I watch the news because I find that it overwhelms me at times. 

What advice do you have for Black millennials right now? 

For many people, there is a lot to be stressed about during the pandemic. Many are losing their jobs and their family members to the disease. The stock market volatility is causing panics. Millennials are at high risk of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. My advice would be to use this time to reflect on what matters. Focus on the positive. Try to stay grateful. Go outside for a walk. Start exercising at home. Make deeper connections with the people in your life. Turn off the news sometimes. It’s okay to put down the phone and stay away from social media for a few hours. Learn to meditate. 

And of course seek professional help. There are now many therapists using tele-health-based platforms. So even with the social distancing or shelter-in place guidelines, help is available. 

What’s something that has made you grateful for Black creatives in a time like this? 

I just love seeing how we as a people get together to come up with fun and creative ways to lighten up the mood during the pandemic. There has been so many fun challenges created on the internet where you see people getting “living room ready” and showing off their looks! Amid the COVID-19 crisis, we have become more creative and have come up with incredibly imaginative ways to find connections even when we’re not in the same physical space together.

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