May 8, 2023

Warriors in the Community, Episode 4: College of Nursing professors’ textbook tackles racial health disparities

Warriors in the Community - WWJ 950 Newsradio

Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters.

Our fourth episode features Cynthera McNeill, DNP, a graduate of and professor in the WSU College of Nursing who, along with university colleagues and fellow DNPs Tara Walker and Umeika Stephens, recently published Urban Health: A Practical Applications for Clinical Based Learning, an authoritative online textbook that addresses racial and urban health disparities. Published by the Wayne State University Library System, the downloadable book is quickly becoming a popular text for health experts nationwide who’re grappling with disproportionately poor health outcomes among African Americans in urban centers. In recognition of National Nurses Week, Dr. McNeill sat down to discuss the book’s importance and impact in the fight for racial equity in healthcare.  


Intro: This is “Warriors in the Community” brought to you by Wayne State University, and now to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our community, here is Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Hi, this is Darell Dawsey, and today I'm with Cynthera McNeill, doctor of Nursing Practice and a professor at the Wayne State University College of Nursing. She is co-author of Urban Health: A Practical Applications for Clinical Based Learning, one of the first books to offer practical ideas for dealing with the urban and racial health disparities that often plague our community.

Can you give us a few facts that help us kind of understand just how dire the racial and urban health disparities we're facing are in our area?

Cynthera McNeill, doctor of Nursing Practice and a professor at the Wayne State University College of Nursing

Cynthera McNeill: Yes. If you live in Detroit, your life expectancy is cut by 10 to 15 years just because you live in Detroit when compared to other Michiganders. And then that translates when you look at what happened during Covid, where African Americans make up 14% of the state of Michigan's population but accounted for 40% of the deaths.

Darrell Dawsey: Can you share with us some examples of how your book seeks in a practical way to address some of the health disparity issues?

Cynthera McNeill: Yeah, so it brings to the realization that urban health is a specialty within itself. And because you don't have a tool like this already accessible prior to us creating it, now you have a consistent guide where you can consistently teach in a variety of different specialties, in a variety of different environments.

This concept of bringing these conversations and these ideas to light. So this gives you a starting point where we didn't have a starting point before to have that conversation in training students.

Darrell Dawsey: Can you give me an example of just some of the areas that it covers?

Cynthera McNeill: Sure. The book actually covers three of our major sectors in healthcare; I cover primary care as a primary care provider. Dr. Umeika Stephens covers mental health because she's a mental-health nurse practitioner. And Dr. Tara Walker covers the acute care, which is your hospital setting. So, you really can follow a patient through the major sectors of the healthcare arena.

Darrell Dawsey: Dr. Cynthera McNeill, co-author of Urban Health: A Practical Applications for Clinical Based Learning. Thank you so much for joining us.

Cynthera McNeill: Thank you. 

Extro: This has been “Warriors in the Community.” For more Wayne State News, please visit us online at and join us here next Monday at the same time for more warriors in the community.

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