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Fort Worth Medical School to Host Surgeons General Roundtable

NBC Dallas logo NBC Dallas 9/24/2020 Deborah Ferguson
a close up of a blue table: Coronavirus test concept. Test tubes for 2019-nCoV analysis and medical form Coronavirus test over laboratory desk. Chinese Wuhan virus outbreak. © Getty Images

Coronavirus test concept. Test tubes for 2019-nCoV analysis and medical form Coronavirus test over laboratory desk. Chinese Wuhan virus outbreak.

Five former U.S. Surgeons General will talk about health disparities in the era of COVID-19 in a virtual event hosted by the TCU and UNT Health Science Center School of Medicine in Fort Worth.

“We know that African Americans are three times more likely to be affected by COVID-19. We know that 28% of the Latinx and Latino community is, so we want to have a discussion about why we are having these disparities in what I call two pandemics - one dealing with COVID-19 and other dealing with racial injustice,” said Lisa McBride, PhD.,  the medical school's assistant dean of diversity.

McBride started planning the event months ago as she watched coronavirus impact marginalized communities. She’s worked with three of the five surgeons general who will take part in the discussion.

The five former U.S. Surgeons General who will participate in the roundtable Q&A include:

  • Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General, who served during former President George W. Bush's administration.
  • Dr. Joycelyn Elders, 15th Surgeon General and the United States' first black surgeon general, who also served under Clinton.
  • Dr. Vivek Murthy, 19th Surgeon General, who served during former President Barack Obama’s administration.
  • Dr. Antonia Novello, 14th Surgeon General, who served during former President George H.W. Bush's administration.
  • Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General, who served during former President Bill Clinton's administration.

The panel discussion will follow an online screening of the documentary, "Open Season: Racism and Health Disparities, the Two Deadliest Diseases in America."

The filmmaker Crystal R. Emery shares her own experience in the film as an African-American encountering racism while navigating the healthcare system. Emery, whose arms and legs are paralyzed as a result of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of Muscular Dystrophy, hopes that sharing these stories will stimulate conversations that move individuals to action.

“This film is designed to shed light on the current state of emergency and inspire people to go beyond their perceived limitations and become more active participants in what the future of American can be,” said the film director, Crystal R. Emery, in a news release.

“The presentation of this film and discussion with the Surgeon Generals are incredible opportunities for our students, and medical students everywhere, to better understand the insidious nature of health care disparities and to acquire skills to grow beyond them,” said Stuart D. Flynn, founding dean of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, which is a presenting partner in the panel discussion. “The more light that we can shine on these issues, the more we can empower change, forging us closer to building a system that is fair and equitable for all,” he said in a news release.

WHEN: 6 p.m. CST, Thursday, Sept. 24

WHO: Five Former U.S. Surgeons General. Moderated by Dorothy Jones-Davis, Ph.D.

WHERE: Members of the public may purchase $20 admission tickets online at:  https://epay.tcu.edu/med_event/

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