DUNBAR, Fla. — A 5th-generation Dunbar native is bridging the gap and bringing back vital health care to the same community that raised her.
Dr. Shadreka McIntosh opened the doors toSozo Wellness Pharmacy a year and a half ago and is now the only pharmacy in the Dunbar area.
"It's been a long time coming," said Dr. Mcintosh. "And it's been something I think the community didn't realize they needed because it just wasn't here. They were so used to going outside the community."
A 2021 study out of the University of Southern Californiafound that in the 30 most populous cities in the U.S., the Black and Latino neighborhoods have fewer pharmacies than white neighborhoods, leaving disparities across the nation.
Disparities that, which each prescription filled, Dr. Mcintosh is filling that void.
"When you can come into a health care facility of someone that looks like you — and not only looks like you but — can identify with your experiences, history, and culture, that's really important," said McIntosh.
Fox 4 learning it's been more than 50 years since the last time there was a pharmacy in Dunbar. In 1963, Lewis "Doc" Carter III began his career as the first black pharmacist in Dunbar, according to Lee County Black History Society.
"It makes me very proud to still continue on the legacy, even though there have been years in between," Dr. Mcintosh said.
Sozo Wellness also goes even further to find resources for the community, partnering with the non-profitDispensary of Hope, which offers low-cost medication for those uninsured in Dunbar.
"When I think of Black History Month it makes it come full circle because of the challenges people who have gone before me have taken on and overcome. To have the first black female pharmacy — to even make that possible I can't help but be grateful and continue that legacy," said McIntosh.
The Lee County Black History Society is partnering with Sozo Wellness to offer a health and wellness festival called the "Heart Hustle Fest" at Clemente Park on February 25th, continuing to serve her community.