Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Black Docs Radio Show

Black Docs Radio Show

There's a new show coming to Sirius Satellite Radio and the fabulous hosts are based right here in Nashville, TN! Five smart, talented, out-spoken women, all with doctorate degrees, will discuss topics important to the African American Community. This show has been in the works for over a year and the ladies are finally ready to hit the air waves sharing their thoughts on everything from  retaining young black males enrolled in higher education, to preventive medicine, addressing the stigma of mental illness in the African American Community and everything in between. I recently sat down at one of my favorite Nashville restaurants, Salsa, to chat with the ladies about the launch of the show.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the hosts of the Black Docs Radio Show!!!

Executive Producer - Dr. Tameka Winston

Dr. Carmen April:    Dr Winston, let’s start with you since you are the producer of the show. Tell me about your educational background. In addition to being the producer, what perspective will you bring to the Black Docs Radio Show?

Dr. Tameka Winston:   I graduated from Alcorn State in 2001 with a degree in broadcast journalism, moved here to Nashville, worked on my Master’s degree in communications from Austin Peay State University, an EDS in higher education from Tennessee State University, and my doctorate from Tennessee State University. I’m the executive producer of the show.  I teach in the department of communications.  I’ve been with the department since 2006.  I have a journalism background, and I'm a writer at heart.  I love to write.  I teach news writing courses and public speaking.

Dr. Carmen April:    Did you ever desire to become a famous broadcast journalist?

Dr. Tameka Winston: Although I prepared in undergrad and grad school to become a journalist and eventually teach years later, I soon discovered that God had other plans.  I realized that teaching was my true calling in life.  I love teaching and preparing future journalists. It gives me joy to see my students reach their goals. 

Dr.Carmen April: Tell me how the show came about.

Dr Tameka Winston: The show was created in April 2012. The department head in the area where I teach, Dr. Terry Likes, approached me about an opportunity. Sirius Satellite, in conjunction with Howard University, started HBCU Radio Station and a lot of the HBCU’s are going to be involved- of course, Tennessee State University whose show is going to be a part of this. The name was clear to me from the start, Black Docs.  I’m a huge fan of The View and The Talk, so the idea definitely came from that.  Then, having random conversations with my friends about different things made me think, “If somebody could hear what we’re talking about, this would be so cool.”  It              was supposed to launch towards the end of last year, but the launch date has been pushed back numerous times.  Now, Sirius Satellite is saying that it will launch at the end of September.  For now, we’re going to launch on TSU’s radio station and that will take place at the end of August for sure.  We talk about issues in the African American community.

Dr. Carmen April:    What are some of the topics that you will be discussing?

Dr. Tameka Winston:  Some of the topics that we will discuss are things that I’m very passionate about, which are issues as it relates to African Americans, education, and education reform.  That’s why I’m so passionate about the show in the first place. My background in journalism allows me to do the organizing and serving in that leadership role.

We talk about everything.  On the first show that we recorded, we talked about retaining African- American males on college campuses. The main focus, at the end of the day, is to discuss issues in our community.  Not just issues, but shining the light on great things that are happening as well.

I knew that I couldn’t sleep until I put this special group of women together.  One by one, we met. We didn’t meet all at one time, but when I met each of them- I knew that they would be the perfect fit for the show.   Another thing I wanted to talk about is the tagline, “It’s more than just a radio show; it’s a movement.” Five African American women can get together and we can all get along.  We can talk about various topics without getting at each other which is a concept much different than what we see portrayed on TV and in the  media.       

Dr. Heather O'Hara-Rand

Dr. Carmen April:  Dr O’Hara-Rand, tell me about your education background and how you will contribute to the show.

Dr. Heather O’Hara-Rand:   I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri, the middle child of six children.  I attended Tuskegee University and received my Bachelor of Science in chemistry.  Since I was in first grade I knew that I wanted to be a doctor. I specifically wanted to be a Pediatrician. I gained an interest in pharmaceuticals. During undergrad, I started to really enjoy research. I still wanted to be a physician, but I thought that maybe I’ll do a MD/PhD program.  I then went to Georgia Tech and got a Master’s in organic chemistry because I thought that I would eventually get a PhD in pharmacology.  I did the Master’s Program and decided against doing the MD/PhD program because I could not imagine doing both at the same time. I went to Meharry Medical College here in Nashville, TN and graduated in 2007 with my MD degree. Through that time, I figured out that I didn’t want to be a pediatrician, but held on to the basis of why I wanted to be a pediatrician which was mainly about prevention- starting early, educating the young to grow up in a healthy manner.  I thought that I would do that through internal medicine, but found out that wasn’t really what it was, either. I learned more about preventative medicine.  I didn’t know anything about preventative medicine, let alone that Meharry had its own residency program in preventative medicine. I stayed at Meharry to gain a Master’s of Science in Public Health Degree. Preventative medicine is about population health as well as individual health. I then completed my residency in occupational medicine. 

Dr. Carmen April: Through all of your studies, you really seem to have found your calling within the field of medicine.

Dr. Heather O’Hara-Rand: 
Yes, I’ve always wanted to focus on educating people to grow up healthy. I conduct research, which is one of my passions. Preventative medicine and Occupational medicine gives me a chance to do clinical work.  It gives me a chance to do research. It gives me a chance to teach, as well as perform administrative work. Currently, my role is Program Director for the Occupational Residency Program at Meharry Medical College.  I also teach in a M.S.P.H. (Master of Science in Public Health) program. I am doing a lot of counseling for my patients on obesity, smoking cessation, or other addictive traits. 

Dr. Keisha Bean

Dr. Carmen April:  Dr Keisha Bean, tell me about your background and your contribution to the show

Dr. Keisha Bean:   I attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for undergrad. I majored in psychology and minored in social work. I was initially a pre-dentistry major and realized that was not my calling. I majored in pre-dentistry for two years and did great, but I didn’t feel it or connect to it. Of course, being in the field that I am currently in, I know that you have to be able to connect to something.  After I changed my major to psychology, I really loved it.  Once I graduated people kept telling me that I had to go back to school because I wouldn’t make any money in psychology with only a Bachelor’s degree.  So I moved back to Nashville, and worked on my Master’s and doctorate degrees at Tennessee State University. Before I graduated with my doctorate, I moved to Cincinnati to do an internship in their counseling center. I chose their counseling center because they had a multicultural emphasis.  I learned a lot about diversity, multiculturalism, and different interventions to working with a diverse group. I always knew that if I had a practice- I’d want it to be diverse. I don’t want to just work with any one type of person. So I graduated, moved back to Nashville, then I did my post-doc work at Vanderbilt University Community Clinic. Currently, I’m a psychologist at a mental health prison for men and I enjoy the work.  A lot of people have a certain perception about what prison is like and there probably are prisons like that.  However, working at a mental health prison, I get to see the other side of mental health issues. I believe that there are a lot of people who are in prison who, if they had had mental health services earlier, probably wouldn’t have committed a lot of crimes they did. I feel like I’m still learning and I’m still growing, in mental health. I have my part-time private practice where I see a diverse group of  clientele.  I see men and women of different ages.  I see quite a few members from the gay and lesbian community.  I see adolescents, but not small children.  I work with a lot of couples.  I teach at Argosy University adjunct at times.  I do consulting.  I consult for a company called G4S.  That is a girls’ academy here in Nashville where I give feedback about treatment, intervention, and help oversee certain things regarding their supervision. 

 What I hope to contribute to the show is insight about mental health and mental health awareness particularly with people of color because there tends to be a stigma about mental health in the African American community.  I want to use the show to help educate people on what mental health              awareness really is. I also hope to bring information and some insight about relationships and how people interact and relate to one another.  One great thing about this show is that we all get along really well and we’re all women of color.  Unfortunately, that’s not something that you see a lot in media.  I’m hoping that we can address dynamics such as that about relationships.  Women can get along and love one another.

Dr. Iris Johnson-Arnold

Dr. Carmen April: I now introduce you to Dr Iris Johnson-Arnold and find out about her background as a speech pathologist/Speech Pathology Professor and her insight into community issues.

Dr. Iris Johnson-Arnold:
    I am originally from South Carolina.  I have my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from South Carolina State University.  Then I obtained my doctoral degree the University of Memphis and I am now an associate professor at Tennessee State University in the Department of Speech Pathology.  In terms of what inspires me or what I’m passionate about, I’ve always wanted to be at a historically black college or university.  Growing up, my mother ran a cultural center. She provided all types of creative arts, dance, classes for children who otherwise didn’t have access to those types of experiences.  My parents and siblings all went to South Carolina State. I saw what a historically black college contributes and gives to its students, which might be different from some of your predominately white institutions. I’ve always wanted to teach at a historically black college because of the mentoring aspects. There aren’t many African Americans in speech pathology and so with our program at Tennessee State University, it gives me a chance to be a mentor to students who look like me when I was in college as well as students who don’t necessarily look like me because the demographics at TSU are changing.  Even though it’s a historically black college, you will find that most of my students aren’t African American.  I feel that I’m serving the purpose that I was put here to serve which is to be a strong and bold African American woman who pushes herself and pushes her students. 

Dr. Carmen April:
   From that background, what do you think that you’ll contribute? What will be your voice in the show?

Dr. Iris Johnson-Arnold: I bring a balanced perspective because I am somebody who is kind of a fence-straddler.  I see the pros and cons in situations. Being a speech pathologist and working with people with disabilities, I have to look at things through various lenses.  Looking at disabilities and      at what a client may or may not be able to do has taught me to really approach life that way.  In terms of the Black Docs, I would be the one who would not agree or disagree on any matter because I see both sides.  I’m a little wild, say crazy things, and bring just a fresh perspective to the group! 

Dr. Crystal DeGregory

Dr. Carmen April:   We are now hearing from Dr. Crystal DeGregory.  She is going to give us her background and what we can expect from her on the show.

Dr. Crystal DeGregory:
   I am a native of Freeport, Bahamas.  I came to the United States over a decade ago to attend college at Fisk University.  I graduated in 2003 and went on to Vanderbilt where I got a Master’s and PhD in History.  I graduated in 2011 and was part of a class of four or 5 African-American graduates receiving PhD’s in History in the history of the school. My contribution to the show is to bring the controversy.  I say the things that need to be said, the things that people are thinking but don’t want to say. I bring my historical training and my awareness of cultural issues in the way that they impact the  present.  I think I’m a lot of fun and again, just raising the hard questions, trying to think out of the box, trying to push and prod people out of their places of comfort and places of privilege, and getting them to see things maybe from a point of view that otherwise they wouldn’t have seen things from. 

Dr. Carmen April: 
Tell me what you do currently.

Dr. Crystal DeGregory: 
I’m primarily a professor at Tennessee State University where I teach History. My passion is as the founding editor of HBCU Story, Inc. which is an advocacy initiative for a historically black college or university.  What we try to do is tell inspiring stories of the past and present for the HBCU future.  Our belief is that everyone has a story and that we all have memories as individuals and collective memories of the greatness of these institutions.  But in order to make those memories matter, we have to share them with people and in places that traditionally we have not done a very good job of doing.  In April 2012 at the Nashville Public Library, HBCU Story hosted the first HBCU Story Symposium, which is an attempt to encourage serious research, presentations, and publications among them- the HBCU community.  We’re trying to give more opportunities for people to publish and people to present so that the stories of these schools’ greatness becomes part of the common narrative.


Wow, what a dynamic group of ladies to sit down and have dinner with!!! For more info on The Black Docs including show times, community updates and full Bio's of all these ladies, visit their website at

-Dr. April

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