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Florida State Rep. Kelly Skidmore Hosts Virtual Conversation On Women's Health

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Nadia Gordon
Pictured: Dr. Rachel Needle (Top Left), Kelly Skidmore (Top Right), Takeata King Pang (Middle Left), Annie Jae Filkowski (Middle Right), and Dr. Charmaine Chibar (Bottom)

Florida State Rep. Kelly Skidmore hosted a virtual conversation about women’s health care Monday featuring five health care professionals discussing topics and answered questions relating to mental health, sex ed, and legislative goals regarding women’s health care — among other topics.

One of the first topics was self advocacy, specifically among women of color.

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Takeata King Pang, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Florida, said the mortality rate of black women giving birth is more than double of any other race.

“It’s important to recognize that there are systematic and institutional problems with access to care for women of color specifically and women in general,” King Pang said.

Dr. Charmaine Chibar, a pediatrician in Palm Beach County, added that these tragedies are attributed to a lack of partnership between patient and provider.

“As a woman of color, I have been in that position myself,” said Chibar. “When I gave birth to my first child [it was an] emergency C-section right after delivery. I kept telling the nurse something isn't right. I know this is in my blood pressure, and I was blown off too.”

Skidmore says she has also experienced this lack of partnership.

“I was having these weird episodes and I scheduled an appointment with my OBGYN. He said, well, at your age — I was 49 — it's of course, it's hot flashes and you need to go home and suck it up,” said Skidmore.

Four weeks later she visited the emergency room and found out she was having a heart attack.

“Sometimes doctors can get it wrong too,” said Skidmore, “you know your body best and you know when something's wrong.”

Dialogue on Monday's various topics, and others, will continue on the second and fourth Mondays of July and August.

Future topics include equity and inclusion in education, workforce development, and the blue economy.

Nadia Gordon is a 2021 WLRN summer intern.