Get To Know: Kayla Bell-Consolver, MS, LMHC | Broadlawns Celebrates Black History Month

Kayla Bell-Consolver

This Black History Month, Broadlawns is celebrating by highlighting a few of the many amazing Black individuals who make an impact every day at our hospital.

Kayla Bell-Consolver, MS, LMHC

Job Title

Counseling Director, Drake Clinic

Tell us about what you do in a typical day.

Typically I begin my day weightlifting or listening to music to feel energized before work. My typical workday consists of providing therapy to Drake students, collaborating with faculty on campus about new programming and ways to improve mental health, and concluding my day at home coloring or relaxing. 

How long have you worked at Broadlawns?

I have worked full time at BMC/Drake as the Director of the Counseling Center for about 5 months and part time/PRN at Drake as a therapist. 

What attracted you to a career in healthcare?

I have always recognized the impact our experiences and beliefs on our overall well-being, and suicidal ideation. I saw less diverse representation in mental health care and knew the impact representation could have on the stigmatization of mental health in the Black community and many other marginalized communities. I believed that everyone had value and purpose in living and wanting to explore ways to help individuals and communities learn and embrace that. 

What do you like about working at Broadlawns?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities for collaboration and expansion at BMC. Thus far, I have witnessed BMC's commitment to ensuring access to care and openness to creativity when developing new strategies to serve our community. I personally love the partnership with my Alma Mater, Drake University, and the support BMC has given even though I am not working from the main campus. 

Name a Black American you admire and think people should learn more about.

There are so many to choose, but one of the first individuals that comes to mind is Ida B. Wells. I reflect often on the amount of courage, passion, and dedication to instilling the importance of life and value to Black people that she must have had when writing publicly about anti-lynching in a time where the value of Black lives were non-existent to many Americans. In addition, Ida B. Wells experienced ostracization in an attempt to stop her publications, however she continued. I recommend us learning more about her because sometimes speaking up can be frightening, discouraging, and exhausting, but she represented the importance in doing so because it had meaning and that meaning meant life, worth, and humanity. 

What books by Black authors do you recommend?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I also recommend My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Dr. Beverly Tatum, and We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson.

What does it mean to be an inclusive healthcare provider?

It means recognizing that there any many communities that have not been adequately or appropriately served, and often times harmed by providers within our profession. To be an inclusive health care provider, we take that knowledge and utilize it to explore any biases we have and work to eliminate and remove them to address and alleviate the health concerns of our clients. Lastly, it means to continue to advocate on ways to address concerns that create barriers to healthcare for our communities, especially those that are marginalized.

What ways do you challenge/invite others to honor Black history, this month and beyond?

I challenge and invite others to learn more why Black History Month is important to all of us, not just Black Americans. I encourage others to learn about the Black History within our Des Moines community as well, and challenge them to explore ways they can continue to support and uplift Black voices in their community, workplace, and personal relationships.