Zakihia Moultrie will launch her new nonprofit Minority Women in Medicine in January | Photo by Ruta Smith

Two local women in health care are organizing nonprofits to focus on bringing resources and education to Black and Brown women in the Charleston area. 

Zakihia Moultrie, a Mount Pleasant native and registered nurse, is launching Minority Women in Medicine nonprofit to create a resource and mentorship network for Charleston women working in or aspiring to be in the health care industry. Public health advocate NiAsia Elexis Smalls of Goose Creek is launching The Way Over to Wealness, a nonprofit centered on bringing awareness of mental and maternal health to underserved communities.

Smalls

“We’re going to do a lot of things together because our missions are intertwined,” Smalls told City Paper.

Moultrie added, “When I was going through college, I wish that I had a mentor or someone that looked like me because in this day and age representation really matters. I wish that I had someone that I could talk to about nursing, about all the different opportunities that it can afford you or different tips.”

Moultrie, who owns Nourichment Medispa in West Ashley and has more than six years of experience as a registered nurse, said she expected to secure 501(c)(3) status soon and launch a website in January 2023. 

Minority Women in Medicine’s mission is to create a safe environment for female health care professionals or those pursuing positions, Moultrie said. Her vision is to build a network across the Charleston area that will be active in the community by hosting quarterly health care fairs, education-centered events and summer camps. Moultrie and Smalls said they did not know of any other Charleston health care nonprofits focused on minority women. 

“I want to provide education in regards to health and wellness [for] minority communities,” Moultrie said. “There’s typically a lot of gaps there. I want to team up with different hospitals and schools and do things around the community. I’ll switch it up as I see what the needs are.”

As a small business owner, Moultrie will also focus on providing resources for those who own or want to own a business. And since a big part of her role at Nourichment Medispa is shedding light on preventive health care, her nonprofit will be geared toward a dynamic approach to lifestyle balance. 

Besides creating an accessible, visible network, another big focus of Minority Women in Medicine will be providing mentorship. She was inspired to start a nonprofit after receiving messages from people on social media over the years asking about the aspects of travel nursing and entrepreneurial nursing, with which Moultrie has experience. 

The nonprofit held its first networking brunch event Aug. 27 with nine speakers who own their own businesses or have diverse roles within the field of medicine. The brunch welcomed individuals aged 13 and older to attend and hear panelists detail their career paths for attendees that included students, health care professionals and those interested in the field. 

Smalls, who holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina, was a panelist at the Aug. 27 event. She spoke about her own birthing experience and her collaborations with various health care resource organizations to bring transparency to the birthing process and postpartum living.  

“A lot of people don’t realize they’re depressed after having a baby, and [I’m] trying to create a space where moms understand that their feelings are valid,” Smalls said of her nonprofit. “A lot of African American women are not knowledgeable about what your options are in the labor room. So a lot of them do not have a voice when having a baby, and they just go with the flow. And you don’t always have to go with the flow. You can voice your opinion on what it is that you are comfortable with, what you can do and what you will not do. And so a lot of my education is on that because African American women are at a higher risk for mortality when giving birth.”

Smalls currently works with international organization Mental Health Alliance to coordinate community health initiatives and Carolina Teen Center in Summerville to provide mental health resources. She will launch her nonprofit and website, thewayover.org, in December. She will be at an Oct. 1 health awareness, wellness and resource fair 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 1 at Walterboro Christian Center, 320 Robertson Blvd., Walterboro.

Connect with Moultrie at nourichmentmedispa.com to sign up for the Minority Women in Medicine newsletter. Connect with Smalls at niasiaelexis.com.


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