Starting the Conversation Video Series

Starting the Conversation

NMF was delighted to support the development of Johnson & Johnson's video series, which features several of our alumni who are on the frontlines of the fight for health equity. The conversations are real and powerful—and drive home the urgency of our mission to elevate more excellent health care leaders of color to serve the communities that need them most.

About the Series

Over the last year, we've been reminded that systemic racism has had a devastating impact on our society. For centuries, health inequities have contributed to Black Americans and people of color suffering worse health outcomes than their white neighbors. This six-episode series, hosted by Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, features conversations with Black doctors and nurses on the front lines of health equity with the hope that by Starting the Conversation and listening, we create empathy. Through empathy, we gain understanding. And, through understanding, we inspire change.

Chicago: History and Hope

Chicago’s historically Black South and West Sides are something of a ground zero in the fight for racial justice. Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, begins the series in his hometown, where his grandparents operated a nursing home and rehabilitation center for the community. Just because health disparities have always existed is no reason to allow them to stand. Sneed speaks with two health professionals working to change that narrative and reality.

Featured NMF Alumnus: Ronald Rembert Jr., M.D.

Baltimore: A Perfect Example of a Flawed System

Baltimore is adjacent to the United States capitol, the center of policy and justice for arguably one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world. This city is also a case study in economic and racial health disparities among Blacks and whites. Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, continues the conversation with two changemakers determined to achieve equity in healthcare for their community and to create a model of racial health equity for the country’s leaders to see.
Featured NMF Alumnus: Joseph Nelson, M.D., MBA

New York: If Not Us, Who?

New York is one of the largest and most racially diverse cities in the country, yet the gap between Black and white health outcomes could not be more pronounced. Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs & Chief Communication Officer at Johnson & Johnson, continues the Starting the Conversation series speaking with two physicians and community organizers who have answered the question: “If not us, who?” These healthcare heroes are working to meet people of color where they are to strengthen trust in healthcare providers.
Featured NMF Alumnus: Adam Aponte, M.D., MSc, FAAP

Atlanta: Biases are Barriers 

One important aspect of addressing racial health inequities is creating more opportunities to enter health professions, given the systemic barriers for people of color. In this episode of Starting the Conversation, Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, travels to Atlanta, the home of the civil rights movement. He spoke with two women who are working to widen opportunities for the next generation.

 Los Angeles: Dual Pandemics

Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, travels to Los Angeles where he speaks with two community healthcare heroes fighting the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. Dr. Jerry Abraham shares that once vaccinations for COVID-19 became available, we heard a lot about ‘vaccine hesitancy’ among Blacks and other people of color. When digging deeper, one might see the slower uptake has more to do with lack of access and other barriers such as transportation or a lack of trust in healthcare and government programs rather than actual concerns about the vaccine.
Featured NMF Alumnus: Jerry P. Abraham, M.D., MPH

Birmingham, AL: Overcoming Historic Racism in Health

Any effort to close the racial health equity gap must include Blacks living in rural areas that are fighting localized and systemic issues of poverty, food insecurity and healthcare access. Those efforts also face issues of distrust in public health systems. Michael Sneed, Executive Vice President, Johnson & Johnson, travels to the heart of Alabama’s “Black Belt” in this episode.  He finds that, despite daunting statistics and low public health rankings, community leaders are working hard to erase the stain of racism still very much in people’s memories and regain trust in public health programs.     
Featured NMF Alumna: Pamela Payne-Foster, M.D., MPH