Dennis Godby, a naturopathic doctor in Sacramento, Calif., visited Chapel Hill this Wednesday as a part of his 610-mile walk to promote health equity and highlight the use of naturopathic medicine.
Godby’s walk began in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Sept. 12 and will end in Knoxville, Tenn., on Oct. 10, according to a press release. He plans to walk one-fifth of the country each year to highlight health conditions in many American communities of color and promote health equity so everyone has the opportunity to be healthy.
Naturopathic medicine is a healthcare profession combining the "wisdom" of nature with the "rigors" of modern science, according to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. Naturopathic doctors usually attend a four-year, graduate-level school rather than medical school.
Godby said he has been doing these walks for the past 44 years, but COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement made him shift his motivations to be focused on equity.
“I started to really realize that I don't think I'm doing enough for African Americans,” Godby said. “I'm not doing enough as a Caucasian.”
He added that this realization inspired him to get involved in the health equity issue.
“Every person in this country deserves to have an equal opportunity to be healthy, and we need to remove the obstacles to heal,” he said.
Pushing himself physically is Godby's way of making a difference and creating a newsworthy story that will raise awareness for health equity, he said.
Naturopathic doctor Susan R. DeLaney also said healthcare is a big problem in our country. She emphasized that she thinks many Americans believe the United States has a great healthcare system. However, she noted the country's yearly excess spending and lower world rank regarding health.