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Black health professionals to be honored

The achievements of African Americans in the medical field will be celebrated by the Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society at its annual Black History Month program Feb. 28.

“African American Contributions to Healthcare in Lincoln County: Past, Present and Future” will be presented at the Jimmy Furlow Center beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Membership in the LCHGS is not required to attend.

The program will include a panel discussion with Dr. James B. Hall of Annointed Nephrology and Dr. Marc Johnson of King’s Daughters Medical Center. They will be joined by historian Dexter Holloway.

Johnson’s mother, Merida Johnson, is director of quality and patient safety at KDMC and also on the LCHGS board of directors. She said over the years she has seen displays for Black History Month that focused on educators and religious leaders, but few for healthcare workers.

“I’ve seen pictures of Dr. (A.L.) Lott, but in general there had been no spotlight on other African American healthcare workers in Lincoln County,” she said. “Our program this month will spotlight the efforts of African Americans in Brookhaven who have dedicated themselves to healing and educating patients who, in past years, were underserved due to a lack of healthcare providers.”

Merida Johnson said her research of the subject was limited and she realized there has not been a lot written about black healthcare providers from this area. With Holloway’s help, she was able to find information about a few other black doctors in the 1940s and they will be discussed at the meeting.

She was happy to discover so many African American health care professionals currently working in Lincoln County. Many of those, like her son, will be spotlighted during the program. The contributions of African American physician-providers, nurse practitioners, clinical instructors and other healthcare workers will be discussed, she said.

“There’s a lot to learn about the black health care workers and what’s coming up in the future,” she said.

During the presentation, the panel will address lifestyle consequences for diet, activity and chronic disease management. Information will also be shared concerning a recent community health needs assessment, which is mandated to be given every three years through the Affordable Health Care Act.

“We are so grateful to Merida Johnson with King’s Daughters Medical Center for organizing our commemoration of local history. She is a valuable member of our society board,” said LCHGS President Joe G. Brown. “I hope everyone will come out to hear this impressive panel speak. We encourage anyone who has memories or photographs related to African American healthcare contributions to bring for discussion.”

Following the discussion, refreshments will be available

For more information about the program, contact Brown at 901-605-5197 or email history39601@gmail.com.