Keiona M Edwards


The state of Black women's health: Exploring the role of allostatic overload and weathering


Black women have silently carried the load of our families, communities, and movements. Our needs and challenges are often hidden in plain sight. Black women have been synonymous with superwoman, strong, and magical. However, we are at times stressed and weathering life’s storms. The storms we face are within ourselves, homes, communities, and places of employment. Our refugee has been the Black church however at times we need to seek help from healthcare practitioners. The historical lens by which healthcare is rendered to Black women is speckled with racism. These speckles have become large stains as Black women have begun to voice their need for healthcare systems that are empathetic, just, and compassionate. Throughout this presentation we will explore the impact of systematic racism and societal demands on the health of Black women; identifying ways to address these issues through a systems lens.


Keiona Edwards, a dedicated Senior Practice Manager and Doctoral Candidate of Social Work (DSW), combines her extensive professional expertise with a deeply rooted commitment to service and compassion. Originally from Bellwood, IL, Keiona has called Louisville, KY home for the past 16 years, where she resides as a devoted wife and mother of two, also proudly serving as a grandmother to one.

Believing in the inherent value of serving others with the same care and respect she would want for her own family, Keiona’s philosophy is guided by her faith and the scripture, “With God all things are possible.” Her journey in social work began with earning a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA in 2000, followed by a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Aurora University in 2002. Starting her career in mental health before transitioning to medical social work, Keiona discovered her passion for helping patients and families find a sense of normalcy amidst life-altering circumstances.

Certified as a Social Worker (CSW) in the state of Kentucky, Keiona is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical practice and professionalism. Inspired by the words of Martin Luther King Jr., one of her favorite quotes – “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane” – Keiona is driven to address healthcare disparities and advocate for equitable access to quality care for all individuals, particularly marginalized communities. In her personal and professional life, Keiona remains steadfast in her dedication to serving others and advocating for positive change in the healthcare landscape.