Black & White: Death & Dying by Race & Ethnicity

Is health black and white?

Before you answer… Did you know that there are differences in death rates based on race? On average, at birth a white person may expect to live 5 years longer than a black person in the United States. This gap grows to a 10 year difference when comparing life expectancy of white women (81 years) to black men (71 years) [1, 2].

Why is this the case?

Well for starters, the leading causes of death differ down both race/ethnicity and gender lines. For instance, homicide makes the list as one of the top five killers of black men, but does not make the list for white men (nor either group of women). Diabetes makes the list as one of the top five killers of black women, but does not make the list for white women (nor either group of men) [3]. However, when comparing death rates between blacks and whites for the same disease, blacks still tend to have worse health outcomes. In fact, according to 2012 data, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Heath states “the death rate for African Americans was generally higher than Whites for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide” [4].

But really, why is this the case?

It comes down to what researchers refer to as ‘social determinants of health’. This term translates into how where you live, work, and play shapes your health. Moreover, these differences may in part be explained by health inequity, “difference or disparity in health outcomes that is systematic, avoidable, and unjust” [5]. For instance, it is common knowledge that many black people in America are living in poverty. This fact is tied to societal oppression dating back to slavery. Poverty manifests in predominately black neighborhoods, leading to limited access to resources such as healthy food, safe environments for physical activity, and quality health care services. As declared by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” BUT, poverty does not explain it all. Even when a 2015 study compared breast cancer survival rates between low socioeconomic status white women with high socioeconomic status black women, black women still suffered from worse health outcomes [6]. Thus, factors beyond poverty, such as racial discrimination (e.g. subconscious differences in treatment by health care professionals) must be considered.

What can be done?

First and foremost, health education and health inequity awareness must become common knowledge. Children and adults, men and women, black and white must all understand what constitutes health, so that health is not only seen as the physical absence of a pathogen, but more holistic and inclusive of mental, emotional, environmental, and social health. Professionals and patients must work together to actively address gaps in sociocultural competence/humility through being open and honest with each other. Particularly, physicians have a responsibility to treat “humanity as [their] patients” [7]. Thus, systematic discrimination must be deconstructed for the assurance of ‘justice for all’. While health policy should be at the forefront of the conversation to combat these issues of social justice, communities must also consider their power in determining their destiny. Black communities, as they have done in the past, must begin to gather, organize, and mobilize to persevere.

Now, with all of this in mind… you tell me, how long should health continue to be black and white?

Rhoda Moise is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health and a passion for health promotion. She has been trained to approach health from an interdisciplinary perspective from proteins to people. Through her doctoral studies as a PhD student at The University of Miami, she intends to combat health disparities by conducting research which provides empirical evidence that demands alteration in standing policy.







6 Keegan, T. H., Kurian, A. W., Gali, K., Tao, L., Lichtensztajn, D. Y., Hershman, D. L., … & Gomez, S. L. (2015). Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic differences in short-term breast cancer survival among women in an integrated health system. American journal of public health, 105(5), 938-946.


Black & White: Death & Dying by Race & Ethnicity

Spinach & Sundried Tomato Stuffed Shells

Spinach & Sundried Tomato Stuffed Shells

This recipe makes 5 servings of 3 shells each.


10 oz fresh spinach

8 oz fresh mozzarella

32 oz part skim ricotta cheese

8 oz sundried tomatoes in olive oil, julienne cut or sliced

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp italian seasoning blend

12 oz (1 box) jumbo shells pasta


1. Prepare jumbo shells according to package instructions. Once the pasta is fully cooked, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool.

2. Add 1/4 cup water to a skillet, then add the spinach, cover, and cook until completely wilted (about 2 minutes).

3. Add the sundried tomatoes, ricotta cheese, mozzarella and seasonings to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Once the mozzarella cheese has melted, remove the cheese mixture from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

4.Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan (or whatever dish your heart desires). Stuff shells with a tablespoon-full of the filling and place open side up, and close together in the pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling. Serve with a side of your favorite green vegetable or a light garlic bread. Enjoy!


Spinach & Sundried Tomato Stuffed Shells

Spinach & Strawberry Salad w|Feta Cheese

Spinach & Strawberry Salad w|Feta Cheese

This recipe makes 6-8 servings.


1 15 oz bag of spinach

1 pint strawberries, sliced

1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

6 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup honey

2 lemons

1/2 cup olive oil + 2 tsp


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Drain and rinse chickpeas, then toss with olive oil and spread evenly onto a baking sheet.

3. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crisp.

4. Remove the chickpeas from the oven and let cool, then mix with spinach, strawberries, and feta cheese. Toss with the honey-lemon dressing immediately before serving.

For the Dressing:

1. Mix ½ cup extra virgin olive oil with ½ cup of raw honey and the fresh juice of 2 lemons.

2. Season with 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix vigorously. Store in the refrigerator for no more than one week.

Spinach & Strawberry Salad w|Feta Cheese

Chicken Apple Breakfast Sausage


Chicken Apple Breakfast Sausage

This recipe makes 10 sausages; one sausage is one serving.


1 lb ground chicken

1 gala apple, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 tsp ground sage

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp olive oil


1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat. Toss in the diced onions and coat in the oil, then spread into a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the apples and saute again for 2-3 more minutes. Once they are done, remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl to cool.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients thoroughly and form 10 patties.

3. Heat the other tsp of olive oil, then saute the burgers for 9-12 minutes, flipping once during the cooking time.

4. Serve warm with a side of honey or maple syrup.


Chicken Apple Breakfast Sausage

Mixed Berry Almond French Toast Bake

Its National Strawberry Day and I have an amazing brunch recipe to help you celebrate! This easy and delicious french toast bake cuts down the sugar and fat in a traditional french toast recipe, and is also easy to make in bulk in case you are in the mood to share! Before we get to the recipe.. let’s go over the health benefits in the topping.

Strawberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Strawberries are sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low-calorie. Just one serving of strawberries (8) provides more Vitamin C than an orange!

Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and high quality protein. Almonds also contain high levels of healthy unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, other minerals, and antioxidants, which can help prevent cardiovascular heart diseases.


This recipe makes 8 servings.


1 tsp olive oil

1 loaf challah bread

6 eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/2 cup mixed berries, frozen

1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Additional honey or maple syrup for serving


1. First, cut the challah bread into one inch pieces. Whip the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, & honey together in a small bowl.

2. Grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with olive oil, then layer the bread across the bottom of the dish in a single layer.

3. Sprinkle the cinnamon and allspice over the bread, then pour the egg mixture into the dish and cover with plastic wrap.

4. At this point, you can either refrigerate the bake overnight in the refrigerator, or leave the bake at room temperature for 1 hour. I’ve tried both and both work, so.. your choice!

5. Either way, when you are ready to bake your french toast, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and flip the challah bread pieces over in the pan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the dish from the oven and top the casserole with mixed berries (I prefer them frozen) and sliced almonds. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

7. Serve warm with a side of honey or maple syrup.

Mixed Berry Almond French Toast Bake

Lentil, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Soup

It’s winter! As much as I hate the cold,  I am at least glad to have easy and delicious soup recipes on hand! This soup combines lentils (an amazing vegetable source of protein), sweet potatoes (fiber), and spinach (fibers, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants) in an amazing low sodium broth that will keep you warm inside even if it happens to be cold out. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do!

Untitled designLentil, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Soup 


1 tsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 tsp minced garlic

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed

4 cups brown lentils

4 cups water

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

additional sea salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Saute onion and garlic in a large pot over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

2. Add other vegetables and cook for 7 minutes.

3. Add lentils, water, chicken broth, thyme, and seasonings and bring to a rolling boil.

4. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes, adding more water if necessary.

5. Add spinach, stir thoroughly, and season to taste. Enjoy!


Lentil, Sweet Potato, and Spinach Soup

HN Kitchen: Zucchini Boats

These zucchini boats are a simple and easy way to incorporate various macronutrients into a wholesome meal.

Zucchini is an outstanding source of manganese, vitamin C, and dietary fiber that will keep your body in the best shape for the long run. It also contains vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus .

The high fiber content of tomatoes helps improve satiety, and they are also a rich source of potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.

The ground turkey and jasmine rice provide lean protein and carbohydrates to give you fuel throughout the day.

Zucchini Boats

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HN Kitchen: Zucchini Boats