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Statewide COVID-19 task force to focus on health disparities in minority communities

Posted at 7:05 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 23:40:41-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Local healthcare leaders in Tallahassee all agree on one thing: preventative care is the best way to stop health problems from potentially becoming deadly.

It's now one of the reasons the COVID-19 task force is shifting its focus to disparities in health.

On the local level, Dr. Claudette Harrell with Bethel Missionary Baptist Church said their medial unit, which has been used to administer vaccines, is working to address issues that are mostly seen in minority communities.

"Looking at hypertension, looking at cholesterol levels, and looking at some of the chronic conditions that might impact the heart," said Dr. Harrell.

Natalie Carnegie is a health advocate here in Tallahassee. She says being overweight is the result of a thyroid issue she's had since she was a kid.

As a result, Carnegie says she knows the healthcare system well, and the challenges people face due to a lack of insurance.

"They can't afford it," said Carnegie. "Can you imagine having premiums as high as three, four, five, six, seven, 800 dollars a month, it's not fair."

Neighborhood Medical Center is another organization working closely with families in undeserved communities to help provide affordable healthcare options. Dr. Sharron Foster says that knowledge is the key when it comes to preventing many of the issues impacting minority communities.

"Typically, in a society where people are conscious and aware, they will seek medical attention to make sure that they don't have the most common predisposing conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes that can lead to more severe consequences," said Dr. Foster.

ABC 27 also spoke with Bond Community health leaders today. They said that around 35 to 40 percent of the patients they see are without health insurance.