TJC Story Blog

Apr 2021


A 65 year old African American woman shared the following with TJC:

“As a person who has a chronic illness, I have had medical personnel question the validity of my symptoms and try to minimize the impact of illness on me. This has occurred in instances when I was not asking for time off or medication. I just wanted explanations and medical plans to address symptoms.” She also shared that she has had problems getting transportation to access healthcare before because she “didn’t buy a car for a period of time. Bus transportation to North Jackson can sometimes be challenging.”

She said that she has relatives whose jobs were threatened because they were concerned about other workers who exhibited COVID-19 like symptoms.

“I have relatives who were downsized because of a disability, and the loss of business during COVID was used as a reason to downsize employees with seniority who had disabilities and to keep more recently hired employees who didn’t have documented disabilities…COVID-19 has exposed the inequities in the medical system–not just for people of color but for everyone. More than 400,000 people (that we can document) have died because of COVID-19 and its complications. Many more will be living with long-term effects. This will not be the last pandemic. We were not prepared in 2020; it is doubtful that we will be prepared in the future unless we put proactive measures in place.

COVID-19 taught us that no one in safe against some diseases. Did COVID-19 teach us that adequate healthcare and preventative healthcare should be afforded all Tennesseans? The question of extending healthcare options ought to be considered in light of the more than 400,000 people who died and the countless lives that were impacted by these deaths. Reducing health disparities makes good moral and business sense. We either work to reduce disparities on the front end, or we will continue to bury bodies and face tremendous economic downturns when the next illness wave comes. And the wave will come.”

*The Black Health Matters initiative seeks to frame health as a racial justice issue and to educate about the long-standing systemic barriers to care and other social determinants of health as well as bias in the healthcare industry that create worse health outcomes for Black people. If you have ever experienced health disparities or health inequities, please fill out this brief survey. TJC wants to share your experiences to educate people about these issues and get them to take action to fix the problems in our healthcare system.