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Starting the Conversation

Over the last year, we’ve been reminded that systemic racism has had a devastating impact on our society. For centuries, health inequities have contributed to Black Americans and people of color suffering worse health outcomes than their white neighbors. This six-episode series, hosted by Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, features conversations with Black doctors and nurses on the front lines of health equity with the hope that by Starting the Conversation and listening, we create empathy. Through empathy, we gain understanding. And, through understanding, we inspire change.
A headshot of Michael Sneed in a blue button down shirt

Michael Sneed

Michael Sneed most recently served as Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Chief Communication Officer, and a member of the Executive Committee at Johnson & Johnson. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Thomas Jefferson Health System and a member of the Board of Directors of Wayfair. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Macalester College.

All episodes

Starting the Conversation: Episode One

Chicago’s historically Black South and West Sides are something of a ground zero in the fight for racial justice. Michael Sneed begins the series in his hometown, where his grandparents operated a nursing home and rehabilitation center for the community.

Starting the Conversation: Episode Two

Baltimore is a case study in economic and racial health disparities among Blacks and whites. Michael Sneed talks with two changemakers determined to create a model of racial health equity for the country’s leaders to see.

Starting the Conversation, New York: If Not Us, Who?

Michael Sneed speaks with two physicians and community organizers who have answered the question: “If not us, who?” These healthcare heroes are working to meet people of color where they are to strengthen trust in healthcare providers.

Starting the Conversation, Atlanta: Biases are Barriers

In this episode, Michael Sneed travels to Atlanta, the home of the civil rights movement. He speaks with two women who are working to widen opportunities for the next generation.

Starting the Conversation, Los Angeles: Dual Pandemics

Michael Sneed speaks with two community healthcare heroes fighting the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. They reveal why we’ve heard so much about “vaccine hesitancy” among Black and other people of color.

Birmingham, AL: Overcoming Historic Racism in Health

Michael Sneed travels to the heart of Alabama’s “Black Belt” in this episode and finds that, despite daunting statistics and low public health rankings, community leaders are working hard to erase the stain of racism still very much in people’s memories and regain trust in public health programs.
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Our race to health equity

For nearly 20 years, both in our laboratories and on the ground in countries impacted by TB and MDR-TB, Johnson & Johnson has been supporting global efforts to end TB and combat AMR.
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