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      HomeStarting the Conversation: Episode 5

      Starting the Conversation: Episode 5

      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.

      Los Angeles: Dual pandemics

      In the latest episode of Starting the Conversation, Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, travels to Los Angeles, where he 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—and the answers have more to do with practical barriers such as a lack of transportation or a lack of trust in healthcare and government programs than concerns about vaccines themselves.

      If these conversations speak to you, please consider joining the effort by learning more about the National Medical Fellowships and National Black Nurses Association.

      Healthcare professional takes the blood pressure of a patient
      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.
      A headshot of Jerry P. Abraham, M.D., MPH in a lab coat and striped tie

      Jerry P. Abraham, M.D., MPH

      Dr. Abraham holds a master of public health from Emory University and completed a post-graduate fellowship in Global Injury Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and completed his Family & Community Medicine Residency Training at the USC Keck School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Abraham serves as the Director of COVID-19 Programs at the Kedren Community Health Center in South Los Angeles, where his patient population is Black and Latino. In his time at Kedren, he has become an advocate and bulwark for equity and justice for his community, especially when it comes to COVID-19, the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and better representation of marginalized individuals and populations in healthcare delivery and public health.
      RTAV Alice Benjamin

      Alice Benjamin, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, FNP-C

      Benjamin is a board-certified Clinical Nurse Specialist and Family Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years nursing experience specializing in cardiovascular, critical care and emergency medicine. She is also the Chief Nursing Officer and a contributor at, where she hosts the weekly “Ask Nurse Alice” podcast. She has a dual B.A./BSN from San Diego State University in nursing and psychology, MSN in nursing education from Point Loma Nazarene University and a family nurse practitioner post-master’s certificate from the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. She is a recurring on-air health medical contributor for NBC 4 in Los Angeles and has appeared on local and national news networks including CNN, HLN, FOX News, TV One, BBC and KTLA Morning News.

      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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