Bold Action Needs to be Taken on Health Disparities Among BIPOC Communities
A Conversation with Alex Jahangir, MD, and Katie Seigenthaler
Alex Jahangir, MD
Dr. Alex Jahangir is the Chair of the Metro Nashville COVID-19 Task Force, Member of the Metro Nashville Board of Health, and acts as Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Medicine, and Health Policy, Vice-Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, Director of the Division of Orthopaedic Trauma, and Executive Medical Director of the Trauma Patient Care Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. From the pandemic’s onset, Dr. Jahangir established a leadership platform of transparent, informative communications between different levels of government, private enterprise, and the people of Tennessee. Guided by his experiences as a surgeon and immigrant, Dr. Jahangir, who fled war-torn Iran with his family at age six, is focused on justice and equity issues, arguing that protecting the most vulnerable is the surest way to protect entire societies. He has been lauded for his community service, having received the Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of the Region Award, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Spirit of the Dream Award, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Physical and Mental Heritage Award, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s 5 Pillar Award, and other recognitions.
Katie began her career as an editorial assistant for The Washington Post then joined The Chicago Tribune as a cub reporter. Stints as a local political columnist and editor followed. After leaving journalism to raise four children, she entered the public relations field in 2004, first with Seigenthaler Public Relations then FINN Partners. She specializes in creating messaging platforms and developing content for clients that captivates people’s attention and makes them care.
Listen to the Conversation
- “Hot Spots” authors Alex Jahangir, MD, MMHC, Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Director, Division of Orthopaedic Trauma, and Executive Medical Director, Vanderbilt Center for Trauma, Burn, and Emergency Surgery, who championed the Nashville Metro Coronavirus Task Force, and his co-author Katie Seigenthaler, a former Chicago Tribune reporter and now a managing partner at FINN Partners, explore the challenges of public health during COVID from reaching BIPOC communities, overcoming misinformation to regaining trust.
- Dr. Jahangir, a childhood immigrant to Nashville, talks of his appreciation for the services he received as a child from the Nashville Board of Health and his desire to give back to his community. From trauma surgeon to public health leader during a national epidemic challenge.
- Dr. Jahangir, now a father of young children and leader within one of the nation’s leading hospitals, who arrived in the United States as a six-year-old immigrant with his family from Iran, recounts the discrimination he faces – as an adult. Visiting rural Southeastern communities, he was denied the right to buy a dozen eggs from a convenience store. He reflects on how People of Color feel and face as they seek to access healthcare services.
- Katie Seigenthaler reflects on how Dr. Jahangir’s “doctor’s dairy” speaks to the despair of his young daughters that from a bat bite, the world went into a lock-down. Even health professionals working to sustain and save lives mobilized to address urgent patient needs were suddenly in harm’s way.
- Seigenthaler and Jahangir warn listeners that health disparities among BIPOC communities are real and that the tremendous toll on human life requires bold actions. Dr. Jahangir points to one of the great centers of best medical practice – Meharry Medical College in Nashville, which may be a model for improved access to care nationwide. Communication is part of the care to earn trust among diverse communities.
About the Show
Join digital health advocate and author Gil Bashe, on Health Unabashed, as he discusses the power of collaboration and innovation in improving care across the health ecosystem. Sharing stories and insights from a global perspective, Gil looks at the companies and people who are making a difference and offers his opinions on how to connect the dots to transform the industry for good.
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