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Standing on the frontlines: celebrating health care heroes during Black History Month

Dr. Valda Crowder and Dr. Ada Emuwa are two health care heroes who have personified hard work and dedication.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Throughout the past two years, healthcare workers have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic – standing on the frontlines to keep communities safe as the pandemic raged on.

While others were able to take a step back, two incredible women stepped up. The healthcare heroes dedicated their time to helping those who needed it most during this time of crisis.

Dr. Valda Crowder, an emergency department physician at UPMC, and a long-time veteran in healthcare, knew that her family and friends were going to have questions about the pandemic and wanted to ease some of their concerns.

"I actually started doing twice a week webinars for my family that then grew into webinars for anyone," she said.

Crowder's idea to host a biweekly webinars became a huge outlet, with thousands of people across the state and beyond coming to listen to her answering coronavirus-related questions.

"I did like over 2,000 people -- webinars on what they needed to do, why it was important...kind of really explaining it in plain science, you know, in plain terms," Crowder said. "I felt like people were really trying to be hopeful, but not actually really creating a strategy for themselves and their families.”

Crowder said that throughout the past two years, she’s most proud of the mental strain that she and her fellow frontline healthcare workers have endured.

"There's a lot of physicians and nurses that are stressed and strained and I think that we have to make sure, since we're healing others, that we make sure that we remain well," she said.

For Dr. Ada Emuwa with Lancaster General Health, her role as a family physician has meant she’s seen firsthand the impact these years have had on all her patients

"Very quickly it hit me when patients came to see me....I may be the only person that outside of their families they have communicated with or seen in a while and I realized very quickly the impact this could have."

Looking to the future, Crowder and Emuwa agreed there is a lot of work to be done in fixing the health care disparities that minority communities face.

For now, Crowder added, for those looking to continue to honor healthcare workers should remember one thing.

"When you go into a health care facility now, remember that these are workers that have been working for 24 months now in this pandemic," she said. "Have some compassion and some generosity."

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