Minority Health Month

Dear Colleagues, Patients, and Community Members,

As Chief Medical Officer, I am pleased to address you during Minority Health Month. This important observance provides a crucial opportunity to highlight the health disparities affecting racial and ethnic minority groups and to promote equitable healthcare for all.

Minority Health Month is a time to reflect on the significant challenges that minority communities face in accessing quality healthcare. These challenges include higher rates of chronic diseases, limited access to healthcare services, and socio-economic barriers that exacerbate health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted these disparities, underscoring the urgent need for systemic change.

Our commitment to addressing these inequities is unwavering. We recognize that achieving health equity requires a comprehensive and inclusive approach that considers the unique needs and circumstances of diverse populations. Here are several key initiatives and actions we can take to advance minority health:

  1. Enhance Access to Healthcare: We must work to eliminate barriers to healthcare access by expanding coverage, increasing the availability of community health centers, and supporting telehealth services, particularly in underserved areas.

Jessie Trice Community Health System provides a number of services to increase your access to care:

  • Transportation to our clinical sites
  • After-hours on-call service
  • Telehealth services – Please ask any staff about our TytoCare units which allow transmission of heart and lung sounds to your provider – all from the comfort of your home
  • Remote patient monitoring – You may elect to enroll into our blood pressure monitoring program through which you may transmit your blood pressure readings to your provider
  • Addressing social determinants of health – As part of our commitment to providing comprehensive and equitable healthcare, you will notice that our staff will ask you a series of questions during your visits. These questions are designed to help us understand if you are experiencing stress or depression, have needs for food or clothing, difficulties paying bills, challenges with transportation, housing, legal concerns, or trouble obtaining medications. We ask these questions because we realize that a person is more equipped to address their health care needs if their social needs are also met.
  • Promote Culturally Competent Care: Our health care providers and staff receive training in cultural competence to better understand and address the specific health needs and preferences of minority patients. This includes respecting cultural differences and providing language assistance services.
  1. Support Preventive Care and Education: Preventive care and health education are critical in managing and preventing chronic diseases. We must invest in community outreach programs that provide education on healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, and the importance of regular health screenings. Join us at one of our educational outreach events. Upcoming events include our back-to-school immunization drive and sickle cell awareness events.
  2. Advance Research and Data Collection: Conducting research and collecting data on health disparities is essential for developing targeted interventions. We must support research initiatives that focus on the health issues disproportionately affecting minority communities. Jessie Trice has a number of research initiatives underway. Ask a staff member if you are eligible to participate in any of interest. We recently launched the Annie Neasman Teaching and Research Institute. Examples of initiatives of this include:
  • Sleep Apnea Research Study – eligible participants receive CPAP machines
  • Research efforts on food insecurity
  • Diabetes Control
  1. Advocate for Policy Change: Policy changes at the local, state, and national levels are necessary to address social determinants of health. This includes advocating for policies that improve housing, education, and economic opportunities for minority populations.
  2. Foster Community Partnerships: Collaborating with community organizations, faith-based groups, and other stakeholders can enhance our efforts to reach and support minority populations. These partnerships are vital in building trust and effectively addressing health disparities.

As we observe Minority Health Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to creating a healthcare system that is equitable, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of all individuals. By working together, we can make significant strides in reducing health disparities and improving the health and well-being of minority communities.

Thank you for your dedication and support in this critical endeavor.

Your Chief Medical Officer,

Joycelyn Lawrence, MD


Minority Health Month
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