"Be the change you wish to see in this world"
Dee Dee with Cynthia whom is the better half of the story in the HBO documentary "The Education of Dee Dee Ricks"
The HBO Documentary "The Education of Dee Dee Ricks" documents Dee Dee's journey from diagnosis to survivorship and the many challenges and hardships she endured along the way, including learning about health literacy in undeserved communities; becoming deeply passionate to end injustice in healthcare accessibility; and the drive to make Patient Navigation a household name. Ms. Ricks views health as a human right and is committing her life to making people aware of the healthcare resources to which they are entitled.
Poverty should not be an offense that is punishable by death.” – Dr. Harold P. Freeman
When Dr. Freeman uttered those words to Dee Dee, her life changed forever. She knew there was no better cause for her than patient navigation. Successful patient navigation supports those diagnosed with suspicious findings by eliminating barriers to timely screening, treatment, and supportive care of cancer and other chronic diseases. Patient navigation saves lives and improves resolution rates of patients. When implemented at the organizational level within a community, it results in increased efficiencies and improved outcomes.
Ms. Ricks worked with Dr. Freeman to co-found the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute (PNI). PNI supports patient navigation training and aims to provide information about chronic disease prevention and eliminate barriers to timely diagnosis, prevention, and care.
Ms. Ricks is the appointed spokesperson for ReZilient Direct, which provides people with supplemental health insurance. Most insurance plans do not cover enough expenses, especially when someone is diagnosed with cancer or another chronic illness. ReZilient Direct helps with these expenses; Obamacare does not cover enough costs and ReZilient Direct has a plan to help with the Obamagap by covering expenses that Obamacare does not.
According to the United States Department of Labor, women make over 80% of health care decisions for their families and are more likely to be the caregivers when a family member falls ill. Ms. Ricks' campaign, to empower Americans toward their right to quality healthcare and the need for patient navigation, urges all Americans to ask their insurance companies "Who is my navigator?". Ms. Ricks believes, "You cannot win the battle for your life when you don't have the ammunition required to beat it." Insurance companies must be held responsible for providing patient navigators. If people speak up, someone will listen.
After her second primary cancer diagnosis of Melanoma in December 2015, Ms. Ricks knows now more than ever, her mission in life is to advocate for access to healthcare for all regardless of socio-economic status. In April 2017, Ms. Ricks will launch her international patient navigation advocacy work in Africa, with an emphasis on access to cancer treatment in Nigeria, partnering with government agencies, academic institutions and non-profit organizations.
Ms. Ricks understands the social injustices underserved individuals face in healthcare treatment as well as in their day-to-day activities. In addition to her commitment to access to healthcare and equality, she wanted to take on an issue that would impact her sons whom are avid hockey players. After all, charity begins at home. She is the Founder of The NextGen AAA Foundation, a 501(c)3, that aims to shape and educate promising top-level youth hockey players, facilitating their path to higher education.