Dr. Jackie is a physician on a mission, and nothing’s going to stand in her way. Using her experience and “Married to Medicine” fame, she’s spreading awareness about cervical cancer and “reminding women that staying healthy is 365 days.”
Dr. Jacqueline Walters, a.k.a “Dr. Jackie,” is a practicing OB/GYN who has worked in her field for two decades, and counts stars like Toni Braxton, T.I., and Usher among her clients. Unlike some other reality stars, she has leveraged her celebrity to raise awareness about important health issues. This has manifested into a number of campaigns and programs created by Dr. Jackie to educate and influence the public about the best methods of self-care. She is also using that influence as an ambassador of ME Period, a movement that promotes self-confidence and empowerment in women. In addition, she has taken on the publishing world, imparting her knowledge in the best-selling sexual wellness book “The Queen V.”
However, as January comes to a close, it’s clear that her primary undertaking of the moment has been making the most of the month during which Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is recognized. Dr. Jackie is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and has made it a personal mission to increase familiarity with and support for those facing the disease through the 50 Shades of Pink Foundation for Breast Cancer Warriors. Likewise, she has taken on the task of spreading the word about cervical cancer, and, as Dr. Jackie has expressed, with reports of cervical cancer being the fourth most common form of cancer in women in the U.S., she can’t imagine not doing her part to bring attention to this disease. Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that takes place in the cells of the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
“As a practicing OB-GYN for 20 years, having watched women go through cervical cancer, which is such a preventable and treatable disease, I have to get involved,” she said during an interview with Atlanta Black Star.
“We want to bring about cervical health awareness because we talk a lot about breast cancer,” she continued. “And you know, I’m all for that. But I don’t think we talk enough about women’s GYN cancers. So we want to shine a light on that this is Cervical Health Awareness Month. And I’m all for it. I’m passionate about making sure I get the word out.”
Dr. Jackie especially wants to reach out to Black women are more likely to die from cervical cancer than any other ethnic or racial group, according to Human Rights Watch. Dr. Jackie said that there are many factors contributing to these increased cases.
“Actually there is cervical disparity that is happening all around the world, that are cervical, racial and health disparities. Now, we think, of course, of geographical location, some of your smaller towns, you may not be able to get there, whether it’s a transportation issue of getting there,” she explained.
“We definitely have not really found genetic links to cervical cancer, but we have a different genetic makeup, but the biggest light shines on health and racial disparities.”
As the star of a reality show, Dr. Jackie has been able to use her platform to reach audiences she may not have been able to before. However, fame can be intense, and celebrities’ lives are often open to intense scrutiny and criticism. When asked if her own brief scandals have undermined her message or projects in any way, Dr. Jackie explained that, for her, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
“If you ask me today, ‘is it hard?’ I would say no,” she said. “If you had asked me this six years ago, I would certainly say it was hard because you really lose your anonymity. But again, we get to sit here today and talk about topics like women’s awareness, Cervical Health Awareness Month. And no, it’s not hard. I think if you stay true to you, be open, honest and transparent it’s not hard.”
Dr. Jackie said she sees the show as an opportunity to get out information, and that she wants to “use my life as a teaching tool.” She insists that every memorable moment she’s had when it comes to “Married to Medicine” is when “I’ve been able to share and women write me back saying ‘You made a difference by showing that, you made a difference by sharing that.’ ”
The doctor maintained she will stay involved with the Bravo program until she’s “a little old lady,” and she shared that the show’s upcoming season is certain to please fans who are patiently waiting for more episodes.
“I will tell you that you will definitely get what you’re coming for. But this year is a little different in that we were in a pandemic,” she revealed. “So filming during a pandemic, we had to navigate around the guidelines, staying safe. But you still get to see what happens when the white coats are on.”
She added that the show tackles topics that made headlines in 2020, including demonstrations that were part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and provides views from the doctor’s office — including discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines for the virus. “So you know, white coats on, girl,” she said, “and you know what happens when the white coats come off.”
Key Statistics About Cervical Cancer
- African American women are two times more likely to die from cervical cancer than white women
- Make sure you ask for your age-appropriate screening with the Pap test.
- For women 21-29, Pap testing is crucial, and then for women 30-65, you get what’s called co-testing, which is a Pap test and HPV test together. It is the benefit of two tests with just one sample and detects nearly all cervical cancers.
- You can find more information at Hologic.com/WellWoman
- Every hour, 1 woman is diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S., and there are worries this may increase due to delays in screenings.
- Cervical cancer is not only treatable; it is preventable, but still about 4,000 women or 1 in 3 diagnosed will die each year unnecessarily.
- More than half of new cervical cancer cases occur in women who have never or rarely been tested.