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HomeStarting the Conversation: Episode 6

Starting the Conversation: Episode 6

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.

Birmingham, AL: Overcoming historic racism in healthcare

Any effort to close the racial health equity gap must include Blacks living in rural areas that are fighting localized and systemic issues of poverty, food insecurity and healthcare access. Those efforts also face issues of distrust in public health systems. Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, 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.

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

Aerial view of street in Birmingham, Alabama
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.
Frances Ford

Frances Ford, RN

Ford is a registered nurse and a native of Marion in Perry County, Alabama. She is one of 10 children and knew since a young age that she wanted to help serve her community. Since receiving a B.S. from Judson College a nursing degree from Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, Ford has worked in many different areas of nursing, including hospitals and outpatient clinics. In 2005, she was recruited as the Executive Director of Sowing Seeds of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit that promotes collaborative, holistic community development in Perry County. She has dedicated her work to bettering the lives of the 9,000 individuals who live there.
Pamela Payne-Foster

Pamela Payne-Foster, M.D., MPH

Dr. Payne-Foster was born in Harlem and, at the age of 7, moved to Atlanta, where her drive for community connection started. She went on to attend Meharry Medical College in Nashville, which is one of four historically Black medical schools in the country. Today, Dr. Payne-Foster is a physician of preventive medicine and public health. When not with patients, she spends her time and energy inspiring diverse young people from rural areas to pursue medical school and conducting research through her role as a professor in the Department of Rural Community Health and as Deputy Director for Community Outreach, Institute for Rural Health Research, at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. Her main academic areas of interest are health disparities, bioethics and medical ethics and diversity and cultural competency issues in healthcare.

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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