For far too long, Black people have been subjected to systemic racism baked into American systems, and healthcare is no exception.

Black people have been faced with disparities in health care and health outcomes for decades. Eliminating racially-motivated barriers to health care must be a top priority for our state moving forward.

We know that health equity is impacted by a history of damaging policies that contribute to the social determinants of health, and we believe that improving access to affordable healthcare is an important part of the process of reversing the disparities that racism has created. In a review of 65 different studies about states who have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act conducted over the course of half a decade, the majority of studies found that expansion decreased racial and ethnic disparities in health insurance coverage as well as health outcomes and quality of care. In Tennessee, 31,000 Black people who are currently in the coverage gap would gain access to affordable health coverage if our state leaders expanded Medicaid. Our state must follow the lead of other states in America who have already taken the common sense public health measure of expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of uninsured people.

Health justice is racial justice, and focusing on improving Black health is integral to the rectification of our state’s history of racism.

Take action now!

Scroll over or tap on the purple boxes below to find out how YOU can take action.

#BlackHealthMatters Pledge

Commit to work for health justice so that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.

A conversation with Rose McGee and Leslie E. Redmond for the Throwing A Fit for Health Justice: A Statewide Virtual Rally

Black people are 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured than White people.

The ACA was just the beginning. Help us advocate for policies that reduce health disparities!

Here's two ways you can take action.

Get more Tennesseans covered. If Tennessee expands Medicaid, like the majority of other states in the country already have done, we would likely see a decrease in health disparities across the state.


The Affordable Care Act is under attack. If the ACA is repealed by the Supreme Court, it would have devastating effects on communities of color that have received large gains in coverage since its implementation.


Calling all faith leaders!

We need Medicaid expansion now.

If you are a faith leader in Tennessee who is interested in advocating for affordable health care, check out our faith leaders petition.

Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors were in need prior to the pandemic and will continue to be in need once we make it through this trial. They are deserving of benevolence and mercy. Access to healthcare is critical to people during this time of public health emergency.


Educate yourself about racial disparities in Tennessee.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated longstanding racial disparities in health. From the rate of deaths caused by the coronavirus for Black people compared to White people, to the maternal health crisis, Black people have experienced a reality in which the systems that are set up to serve them frequently leave them severely underserved.

Consider the maternal mortality crisis, for example. Tennessee’s maternal health problem disproportionately impacts Black women, who are 3 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than White women. Our state ranks 41st in the nation in the health of women and children. Tennessee was only one of three states in the entire country that had not extended maternal health coverage to a year as of April 2021, despite staggering statistics about the number of deaths of uninsured new moms in Tennessee that could have otherwise been prevented. Now, Medicaid postpartum coverage extension has been approved in the Tennessee legislature’s 2021 budget, after it was axed from the budget only a year prior. We are excited to see this extension finally become available to moms across the state, but make no mistake: This is only one small step in the right direction for our state to resolve the stark inequities faced by Black people in Tennessee.

Read our blogs and policy briefs below to learn more about the issues of health inequity that Tennesseans face.

Your voice is important!

The Black Health Matters initiative seeks to frame health equity 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 the brief survey below. 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.

Our neighbors can’t wait any longer to see meaningful change come to Black communities! Click the names below to read the real testimonies of Black Tennesseans who report experiencing the effects of racism in our healthcare system and beyond.

Make sure health care is available to anyone who wants or needs it regardless of race, color or creed!

48 y/o, Black American

To Tennessee politicians: How are you going to tackle racism in our healthcare system? Do you have any plans to dismantle the vast health inequities facing peoples of color, particularly Black people?

35 y/o Black Woman

I have heard of pregnant women at [a hospital in Nashville] that have had less than favorable experiences with maternity care….feelings of not being heard, concerns dismissed as, “nothing to worry about”–lack of empathy.

Sharon Barker, 59 y/o Black Woman


Use the hashtag #BlackHealthMatters to share your experiences with health disparities and health inequities, and advocate for change! Here are some sample posts:

  • Racial inequity is a persistent problem in Tennessee’s healthcare system. In my experience (*share your story). Our state leaders must work to reverse the policies that harm communities of color and advance policies that reduce inequities, such as #ExpandMedicaidTN. #BlackHealthMatters
  • Health justice is racial justice, and centering the health of Black people, who have been harmed the most by racism, would create equitable systems that benefit everyone. We must ensure Black health is a priority, and #ExpandMedicaidTN is a great place to start. #BlackHealthMatters


Our Covid-19 Vaccine Updates page includes information about how and where to find a COVID-19 vaccine. You can also find resources from trusted health workers addressing vaccine hesitancy. We encourage everyone who is eligible for a vaccine to get one!