Written by Martine St. Hilaire
Marjorie Lozama was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and moved to South Florida over thirty years ago. She’s been married for thirty-three years to her husband, Jeff Lozama, and she has three children. She’s also a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner currently working at Empower U Community Health Center. She provides customized behavioral health, psychiatric, and substance abuse services—specifically, patient-centered behavioral health screenings, medication management, individual therapy, and substance use disorder group therapy to support her patients’ mental health needs.
Lozama was a field nurse case manager for twenty years. It wasn’t easy to find mental health providers who were culturally competent to treat her patients. “I decided to go back to school and obtained a post-master as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with the hope to bridge the gap that exists in accessing mental health care for minorities, specifically for our Haitian brothers and sisters,” said Lozama. She recognizes and understands that minorities face challenges when battling mental health that goes beyond their medical diagnosis. Her goal is to advocate and provide holistic patient-centered care to her patients. She not only wants to reduce the stigma attached to mental illnesses but to facilitate better access to care.
To market her services to Haitians, Lozama uses tactics that have been the most successful. “The best way to reach the Haitian community is via radio, TV shows, and going to churches,” she said.The clinic provides an outreach program to assess the needs of the community. It offers mental health services to all patients regardless of whether they can pay. It also offers transportation to facilitate access to care. In addition, Lozama is involved in many professional organizations, especially The Haitian American Nurses Association of Florida where she conducts a weekly show called “Koze Sante,” which educates and empowers the community to be more active participants in their care.
“Our community prefers to suffer in silence, believing mental illnesses to be a curse, a punishment, and shameful,” says Lozama.
The challenges Lozama faces include mental health issues and treatment being taboo not only in Haitian communities but also within many other ethnic groups. “Our community prefers to suffer in silence, believing mental illnesses to be a curse, a punishment, and shameful,” says Lozama. Another challenge is compliance with treatment due to certain adversities patients may face. Even though the clinic offers transportation and Telehealth options to facilitate easier access, unfortunately, some patients still do not take advantage of these free services.
These obstacles will not stop Lozama as she will continue to serve her community locally and in Haiti. Her drive is to make a difference in the lives of others and provide them with the necessary tools to help them heal and live their best lives. In the future, she plans to launch a private practice called The Couch Comprehensive Mental Health Wellness to serve the community.
LinkedIn: Marjorie Lozama: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marjorie-lozama-msned-aprn-pmhnp-bc-cdms-00356841/