KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Brown Girls Brunch started as an organization that connected women of color in Knoxville.
Two years after it was created, it is working to tackle and debunk health disparities among women of color.
"I'm gonna be honest we don't have a lot of people of color or women of color who look like us in healthcare," UT nurse practitioner Carrie McCoy said. "We have so many issues that are not addressed and sometimes we are so afraid to address them."
On Sunday, McCoy was one of many health professionals in Knoxville who attended Brown Girls Brunch's dialogue on health.
She said women of color need to pay special attention to various parts of their health.
According to the American Heart Association, African American women are more likely to have a stroke and heart failure.
"When we talk about heart disease, it looks different in women and especially in black women," she said. "We look for those symptoms of arm tingling, chest pains, jaw pain and women don't have that in general."
Paying attention to disparities is what led Kartesha Riley to help bring the dialogue into fruition along with Brown Girls Brunch founder Enkeshi El-Amin.
"It felt really isolating not really knowing anyone dealing with the same things," she said.
But women from all walks of life got to share their stories in hopes of changing the way women of color handle and look at their own healthcare.
However, McCoy said a lot of the power lies with those who provide health services.
"There needs to be more education around what we look for, how do we have that communication no matter what our healthcare provider looks like," she said.