CHARLOTTE, N.C. — All month long we will be celebrating Black History Month at WCNC Charlotte. This week we’re continuing our discussion on healthcare. While Black Americans make up 13% of the population, only 4% are physicians.
Dr. Sandy Charles is a cardiologist for Novant Health. She credits her grandmother for inspiring her to enter a field where so few are Black women.
“my grandmother migrated to the United States from Haiti in the 1970s and for as long as I can remember, she complained about her doctor.”
Dr. Charles says there was an overall lack of trust and witnessing her grandmother’s health decline, which eventually led to her death, fired up a light inside of her.
“I realized that being a great doctor is not only knowing your medical information, it’s really being able to connect and engage patients. Motivate them to take good care of themselves.”
As the medical director of the Novant Health Women’s Heart and Vascular Center in Charlotte, Dr. Charles says it’s important to educate her patients so that they make better choices.
“Coca-Cola is something that is so common in our community, but one 20 oz glass of Coca-Cola has the same amount of sugar as 18 chocolate chip cookies.”
And treating her patients with care knowing that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.
“What better way to impact people’s lives than to kinda, help prevent against the number one cause of death.”
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A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, Dr. Charles is part of a small group of women in the cardiovascular field.
A recent survey by the American College of Cardiology found only 12% of cardiologists are women and only 4% are Black women.
Dr. Charles is using her platform to inspire the next generation of cardiologists.
“Truly just wanting to be a role model for people. To encourage the future generation. To improve the statistics.”