With COVID-19 on the forefront, Dr. Arabia Mollette is continuing to take care of patients while spreading awareness across all communities. Having personally experienced COVID herself, she has made it her mission to combat misinformation and health disparities. We recently caught up with the emergency medicine physician and on-air medical contributor to discuss everything from the COVID vaccination to her plans of releasing an exciting new book!
With COVID-19 on the forefront, you have made it your mission to combat misinformation and health disparities. Why does this mean so much to you?
I think that in the United States, when something happens in a specific community, whether it’s marginalized or not, we tend to separate ourselves from the issue. We don’t think that it will affect us. This is for everyone. It’s important because misinformation is a powerfully destructive force in this era of global communication. Whether it be on social media or just on television or radio. One false idea can spread instantly to many vulnerable ears. It causes trauma for people who are already experiencing depression, grief, or anxiety. It aggravates an already complex situation, such as COVID-19 or any crisis that has happened in many parts of the world. It was important to constantly address the issue of misinformation. As you can see, we did poorly as a country responding to the pandemic. We still are responding very poorly. We don’t work together as a nation. Each part of the country works separately. It is quite frustrating because misinformation and confusion continues to unravel.
Why did you ultimately decide to get vaccinated and encourage others to as well?
I got vaccinated for a personal reason. It’s no so personal for me because I always talk about why I got vaccinated. I was putting everyone around me at risk, especially my loved ones. For me, it was the right thing to do. I fell victim to COVID-19 as a patient. I became sick with COVID-19, my fiancé got sick with COVID-19 twice! I’ve had people such as co-workers who have passed away from COVID-19 and a relative of mine almost passed away from COVID-19 and she is a nurse. For me, I saw how devastating this disease is. There are so many complications and although people are surviving, there are a lot of people that have not fully recovered from COVID-19. They have long spanning symptoms and complications that stem from COVID-19. There are reports, and I have personally seen as an ER doctor that people have lost their limbs, lungs, hair, and teeth from COVID-19. People have suffered a lot from COVID-19. I became a victim of it, and I am considered a “long hauler,” that is a person that has complications from COVID-19. My longstanding symptoms is that I get chronic headaches. When I do have a headache, it’s really bad. I also lost my sense of smell; I still don’t have my complete sense of smell. There are times where I can smell things but the following day or week, I can’t smell anything. For me, I definitely wanted to get the vaccine because I do want to live my life that was normal for me. Normalcy is defined different for everyone, but it was important for me to protect myself and protect my family. I wanted to set an example based on the science.
Can you give us insight into “The Visit with Dr. Arabia Mollette” podcast?
The pandemic has changed everything. I had to temporarily but the podcast on hold. This podcast is based on health and wellness. It’s kind of controversial because what I would do is have a topic that is controversial and has been in the media. It could also just be something that really needs to be talked about and should be aware of. I utilize the podcast as a way of teaching people of those particular topics because there is only so much, I can teach to patients or regular patens behind closed doors of the emergency department. It’s educational and entertainment as well. It is inspirational, motivational, and I will be podcasting again hopefully here in the next couples of months or so. I had to put things on the back burner for a bit due to the pandemic to focus on taking care of a lot of people while also taking care of myself and making sure that my immediate family was also taken care of. It was a lot on me, I’m the only doctor in my family, I had to take the stance and focus on making sure that I was okay so that I could give back to the world via podcast, television, or interviews. I look forward to going back to it. It is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud.
What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see from you in 2021?
You know, I’m glad you asked me this question. Most people don’t ask this question. I’m happy that you did because I think sometimes when people see an emergency medical doctor or physician, it’s always focused on COVID-19, what do I think? What is the further update? No one really asks us what’s next for us. I appreciate this question. Right now, I am currently working on my book, it is an autobiography. It is a process; I didn’t realize how difficult it is to write a book (laughs). I’m expelling so much about my life. While it’s therapeutic, it is also frightening. I’m actually being vulnerable throughout this process and revealing certain things about myself that can hopefully inspire others. Another thing I am working on is a television project. While I can’t give too many details, I can share that it is going to be a show that will inspire and change people’s views on science and medicine. I know that a lot of times, people are misinformed. People expect that television treatment we see is what we’re actually supposed to give in the emergency department. That never happens! I was inspired to do this because I had this idea in mind for so many years. With COVID-19 and the misinformation, it pushed me to embark on this even more. Hopefully it can change people’s views on science and medicine. I want them to be inspired to make wiser choices in life while learn and be educated with the show.
All images courtesy of Dr. Arabia Mollette