NEW BEDFORD — When Justina Perry launched BuyBlackNB, a directory celebrating Black-owned businesses in the New Bedford area, little did she know it would inspire her to take the leap and start her own business.
“I didn’t have examples of ownership within my circle, and especially of black ownership,” Perry, 34, said. “It happened organically. And I just started to feel more and more like it was less of a low threshold for me.
Perry has, for the past eight years, worked for Southcoast Health as a Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in pelvic health and pelvic floor rehab.
“I had incredible advice, which I think is really valuable for new graduates like me at the time,” she said. “I felt like it was time for me to move on to something else.”
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In December, Perry launched Oshun Physical Therapy and Pelvic Health, located at 1249 Ashley Blvd. The business is geared toward women who are ready to heal their pelvic floor and learn more about their bodies.
According to Perry, the pelvic floor muscles are about the size of two hands and run from the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone in the back.
“We assess the layers of muscle to see if there’s any pain, tension, weakness,” she said. “If you were going in for your knee or back, you would experience all the same things, but we focused on the pelvis.”
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Perry said she works with women who have bowel, bladder, or sexual dysfunction, which usually begins after childbirth, but sometimes occurs earlier in life.
“People can brush it off, or they didn’t even know there was a treatment other than surgery. So we’re just here for people their whole lives who aren’t prepared for the issues,” Perry said.
“It can be really debilitating. It affects your quality of life.”
Since launching Oshun, named after the African goddess of love and water, Perry has been able to bring people what they call the same week, instead of waiting months and months.
Inside a fully equipped private office, Perry said that although they are an out-of-network provider, they work hard to coordinate a team approach to treatment planning. She also hopes to attract more women of color, a disconnect she said she felt while working at Southcoast Health.
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“I didn’t see many women of color at all. And it was a very accessible place, just on the way and it had every insurance,” she said. “But, I think it comes from a little bit of mistrust within the medical system. comes I’m not sure if this is going to increase accessibility or not.
Meanwhile, Perry is hosting sold-out two-and-a-half-hour workshops at Sangha Yoga with Nancy Winterhalter, a physical therapist.
“Women really want to know about their pelvic health,” Perry said. “We want to get the word out there and educate as many people as possible.”
the future of buyblacknb
As for BuyBlackNB, Perry stated that she would continue her commitment to ensuring that there was always an updated directory and that some of their exclusive events such as the Juneteenth seller’s pop-up market would continue.
However, she said she thinks BuyBlackNB has a chance to grow beyond just a directory.
“It will definitely require more talented people, more people who are willing to give their time, and that has to be tailored,” she said. “But I think we have a lot more we can do with this.”
On May 6, the organization will host an inaugural Black Excellence Gala.
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Like himself, he said BuyBlackNB is a role model for others to take risks and start their own ventures. “I was scared to do it. I was really trying to find a way to do it without putting a bet on myself. Until I finally was like, No, I can do it,” she said.
“It was moving from fear and I’m glad I did it.”
Standard-Times Staff Writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports,Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.