When it comes to living with a chronic medical condition, few things are as important as your support system. Whom you surround yourself with can have a dramatic impact not only on your mental health, but also on your physical health.
Navigating life with autoimmune disease can be challenging at times, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Having a support system is integral in the recovery process. That is where the AIP BIPOC Community (ABC) comes in.
HOW DID ABC START? – It Started with a Roundtable!
Before I tell you why you should be a part of this amazing community, first let me tell you a little about how it came to be. My name is Jamie Nicole, The Natural HEALing Coach, and I became an AIP Certified Coach in Fall of 2020. In January of 2022, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2022 AIP Summit, hosted by Jaime Hartman, as a workshop presenter and as a panelist on the AIP BIPOC Affinity Roundtable.
During this roundtable, a group of fellow AIP coaches and I were able to share our experiences as BIPOC women navigating autoimmune disease and how mistrust and mistreatment not only prolonged diagnosis, but caused frustration and delayed diagnosis.
Thankfully, all of us were eventually able to get a diagnosis after advocating for ourselves, but having a support system of like-minded people before, during and after diagnosis could have lessened the burden of the process and minimized the feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation that often come along with an initial chronic illness diagnosis.
Because of the impact that hearing others’ stories during the roundtable had on me, I thought that this conversation needed to be continued. It was an inspiring and powerful dialogue with a strong group of autoimmune warriors turned coaches who had found success on AIP and whose stories could help others on their journeys as well.
After a few months passed and with much thought and prayer, I decided to reach out to Jaime Hartman to see if anyone in the autoimmune community was doing anything similar to the BIPOC Roundtable held in January on a continuous basis. She indicated that there was not, and without hesitation, she fully supported me in creating a way to continue the conversation. That is how The AIP BIPOC Roundtable was born.
Since June, we have held five monthly roundtables led by AIP Coaches and special guests with various topics of expertise. In attendance at the first roundtable were Angie Alt and Mickey Trescott. During this roundtable, fellow AIP Coach, Dr. Sybil Cooper, shared the purpose and goals of the AIP BIPOC Roundtable. A huge part of the purpose and why I stepped out on faith to help curate the roundtable is because of the inspiring work of Angie and Mikey in the area of anti-racism in healthcare.
HOW DID AUTOIMMUNE WELLNESS GET INVOLVED?
If you were not already aware of their work in this area, in June of 2020, Autoimmune Wellness released an open letter in which they explained their belief that anti-racism is fundamental to health and wellness. Additionally, they shared their anti-racism efforts from the past and explained what they intended to do in the future through the Autoimmune Wellness platform.
Six weeks later, they followed thru on their pledge and released their Anti-Racism Business Plan where they stated:
In the simplest terms, our work is defined by the belief that seeking health and building community is an interdependent project. We recognize that racism is a public health issue and that there are systemic barriers that prevent many Black, Indigineous, and People of Color (BIPOC) from accessing healthcare and achieving wellness.
We believe it is our collective responsibility to engage in the critical thinking and work necessary to eradicate racism and dismantle the barriers that prevent many BIPOC from meeting basic life needs of day-to-day safety, (food) security, employment and housing. We acknowledge that these are prerequisites to health and wellness, and to the lifestyles and communities we seek to foster within our businesses.
This was a powerful statement to me. Oftentimes, we share WHAT a particular health protocol is and WHY it is important, but if we aren’t sharing the HOW to culturally, financially, socially and practically execute the protocol, then the WHAT and the WHY are useless to those we are trying to help heal.
FROM ROUNDTABLE TO COMMUNITY CARE
The AIP BIPOC Roundtable is one way we are beginning to address the HOW. By addressing the Social Determinants of Health and the Cultural Barriers to the Autoimmune Protocol that are often roadblocks to the BIPOC community on the journey to better health, we are working together towards the goal of “dismantling the systems of oppression that are preventing all of us from enjoying full health and wellness”.
At the first roundtable, it became obvious that we needed to create a space for all of us to work together as an autoimmune community to achieve this goal. This is how the AIP BIPOC Community was born.
The AIP BIPOC Community is hosted on The Mighty Networks and is open and welcoming to all, not just those who are BIPOC. So why should you join?
WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE AIP BIPOC COMMUNITY?
There is proof that community care can improve your health. Studies have shown that in certain areas around the world where people live longer, and objectively, better lives than average. The common denominator and reason for this difference was their strong sense of community and support.
As a part of this community, you will be joining us in, as well as benefiting from, the collective effort to take care of one another’s physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual needs that are born out of the deep-rooted structural challenges that many of us face – but in an atmosphere of encouragement, and hope supported by others with autoimmune disease who have found hope and healing thru the autoimmune protocol.
In this community, resources will be provided that will help you (or those you care for) remove barriers related to SDoH and the Cultural Barriers to AIP such as:
- Education – resources to help you successfully navigate AIP
- Economic Stability – resources on how to navigate AIP on a budget, how to navigate working a job (or becoming self-employed), how to qualify for reasonable accommodations at work
- Healthcare Access – how to find affordable healthcare, how to find the right doctor, how to find medication discounts
- Neighborhood/Environment – how to mitigate the environmental impact of internal and external toxins on health, how to mitigate health risks due to lack of transportation
- Social and Community Support – safe spaces for cultural-specific conversations, monthly community meet-ups/chats
This is just the tip of the iceberg!!
However, we cannot do this without YOU.
- YOU are a part of the autoimmune community
- YOU have your own experiences and stories to share that will impact someone and inspire them like the stories I heard at the 2022 AIP Summit BIPOC Roundtable
- YOU have local resources and contacts to share that could help someone in your local community
- YOU know others who can benefit from a community of like-minded, positive individuals whom you can invite as we grow the community and achieve better health together
The whole of this community will truly be greater than the sum of its parts.
HOW DO I JOIN?
Joining is simple!
- Go to this link and click ‘Request to Join’.
- Create your username and password.
- Next, upload a profile picture of yourself so that we can know who you are and whom we are communicating with. Once your profile pic is uploaded, we have a couple of questions for you to answer so that we can get to know you better and what you hope to gain from being a part of this community. (Most important part. We want to know who is in our community. Please upload a recognizable picture of yourself.)
- Your request status will be Pending until reviewed by the community admin (must have a profile pic and answer questions). If approved, you will receive an email and you can check your status online or on the app at any time.
After approval, login and complete the following:
- Answer the “Get to Know You” Question
- Read the Welcome Checklist with all of the info you need to learn how to navigate the community
- Create your profile (Most important part. If you only do one thing from the checklist, this is the most important!)
- Check out and save the dates for upcoming events including AIP BIPOC Roundtables and other community events.
I am truly excited by the responses we have gotten thus far for the Roundtables and I am excited to see what is to come for the AIP BIPOC Community ….. with YOU as a part of it. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. Be sure to check out our last Roundtable and sign-up for our upcoming Roundtable at www.aipsummit.com.
I can’t wait to meet you in the community!
Curator of The AIP BIPOC Network, AIP BIPOC Community & AIP BIPOC Roundtable