Today, I am continuing my series of special shows that we’re producing to help push you to the next level, confronting the big elephants in your life and giving you the empowerment tools to live stronger and better! I’m excited about this topic!

Let me ask you a question, do you remember your first doctor? Ok, think about him or her. Mine was this tall, large, grandfatherly white Pediatrician. I remember Dr. Larkin so vividly! He felt safe. In his office, there was a place to color and toys to play with and the nurses were always friendly. I remember when he checked my eyes with that instrument that shines a light into them, Dr. Larkin’s eyes were kind and even as a little girl, I knew that I trusted him. For a very long time, I thought that all GOOD doctors, we tall, large WHITE men.

Fast-forward, and I still remember my first gynecologist. OMG he was AWFUL! I was terrified and he hurt me to the point of tears when he did that blasted internal exam. For a LONG time after that visit I never went to another doctor. I was through!

I realize now, that a lot of my attitudes, thoughts and feelings about doctors were shaped a long, long time ago. My parents took me to doctors and because I was exposed to medical professionals ever since I can remember, I’ve used doctors all my life.

So, can you remember your first doctor? Was it a good experience? Or bad? I’ve been asking people about their experiences with doctors. I started with a group of black women in their thirties. One is single, one is married, and the two others are married with kids. All of them said their gynecologist was white—male and female. I assumed that because they were black women, at least one of them would have a black female doctor. Do you know what they told me—they admitted that they didn’t go to black female doctors because they felt like black female doctors would be in their face with the real deal…and they didn’t want to feel bad! They believed that a black female doctor wouldn’t leave any wiggle-room…so they opted for white doctors! I was speechless.

Then began polling my own family, and my speechless turned into stunned silence. I talked with two of my daughters. One said she would only go to a FEMALE doctor, preferably black but definitely ONLY a female. But my other daughter, had a more detailed opinion. Her doctor had to first be a woman, NO MEN—the women could be black or white…BUT, if she had to have surgery she said she wanted a WHITE MALE doctor. Mind you, the first pediatrician my kids had was a Hispanic woman and an Hispanic man saw my son…and then the only other pediatricians my kids have had are black—a woman for the girls, a man for my son.

What’s it like in your family? How do you pick a doctor? I’ve discovered that people have very definite opinions about their doctors. I’m wondering how much of how we FEEL about our doctors affects whether or not we will GO to medical professionals to get the help we need. Black folks top the list in every disease, it seems. We are dying earlier and more than many other ethnicities. Why won’t we go to the doctor?

According to the top five reasons men won’t go to the doctor are:
#5—“I’m fine!” For men broken bones, rash, even bullet wound…they’re FINE! Seven years ago, my husband was diagnosed with PROSTATE CANCER and he felt “fine” but I thank GOD that he went ot the doctor and that he found it early!
#4—“I’ll tough it out!”—are you kidding me? Men are told to ‘man-up,’ tough it out? So that itch, which could be an STD you’re gonna tough it out? A bad sprain or bruise, really? Tough it out? The truth is the symptoms may get worse if you don’t receive proper treatment
#3—(men don’t go to the doctor) BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE A WOMAN NAGGING THEM! Yep, that’s right…men who don’t have a girlfriend, wife or mom nagging them, are less likely to go to the doctor. Women go to the doctor FOUR TIMES more frequently than men do…maybe that’s why we live longer than men!
And the #1 reason that ASKMEN.COM says men don’t go to the doctor is classic, “I DON’T HAVE THE TIME!” Give me a break! Marathon sessions of football…18 holes of Golf…video game kings…but you can’t make an appointment with your doctor ONCE A YEAR…c’mon fellas, don’t play with your health—ESPECIALLY BLACK MEN!

I recently went to my 30th high school reunion. They were passing around a list of all of my classmates who had passed away aleady. There were a lot of Black men and women that I went to school with who were already DEAD! Many of them died from major diseases, it was so sad!

I can’t just sit here and do nothing so I went out and pulled together a team of doctors to be with me here tonight on a special ASK THE DOCTOR show!

I want to take away ALL of your excuses and most importantly, help empower you past your FEARS about what’s ailing you, your best friend or your children, father, husband or boyfriend. LISTEN TO THIS SHOW RIGHT NOW. I am your chief empowerment officer JENNIFER KEITT and The Jennifer Keitt Show is heard exclusively on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B every Sunday night from 7- 8 pm.