Minority Majority

The disproportionate impact of pressing health conditions in the African American community is well documented. Stated reasons for these disparities vary. Some stress/life choices. Others focus on healthcare bias. The Minority Majority is a four-part series presented by the 400 Years of African American History Commission (400YAAHC) in collaboration with Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It highlights healthcare issues affecting the African American community: strokes, prostate cancer, kidney disease, and maternal mortality and will begin Sunday, April 28, 2024, and continue throughout the next six months.

The series profiles Dr. Rex Ellis, chair emeritus of the 400YAAHC and a multi-stroke survivor; Kaylen Rogers, daughter of Commissioner Superintendent Lewis Rogers, who was diagnosed with a kidney tumor; Commissioner Ted Ellis and Daryl Diggs, the husband of Commissioner Dr. Gwendolyn Diggs, both prostate cancer survivors; and Edgar Patton, the nephew of 400YAAHC Executive Director Addie Richburg, who celebrated the birth of a healthy, beautiful baby girl and, just two days, later mourned the death of his wife.

As Dr. Latisha Toney, clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, noted: “We should not be dying in the numbers that we’re dying for something that our bodies were designed to do.” At a recent Black Maternal Health Caucus, Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL) observed: “Oftentimes our healthcare system treats us differently like, you did something wrong, or something went wrong in your case, instead of taking the systemic approach and saying something’s deeply flawed in our healthcare system that we can’t keep our moms alive in 2024.”

400YAAHC Commissioner Prophet Anyanwu Cox cautioned against waiting for systemic reform: “Perhaps we should be more focused on what we as individuals, families, and communities can do to ensure our health outcomes instead of waiting on a health system that has not yet resolved these disparities for as long as they have existed.”

Episode 1: Premiered 4/28/2024

In this episode, Dr. Yohuru Williams, Academic and Author, provides highlights of the upcoming series that will focus on Strokes, Kidney Disease, Prostate Cancer, and Maternal Health. We meet Dr. Rex Ellis, Chair Emeritus of the 400 Years of African American History Commission, and his wife Paulette. Dr. Ellis is a two-time stroke survivor and shares his experience when he had a second stroke; Darryl Diggs, the husband of Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Diggs and a prostate cancer survivor; Kaylen Rogers, daughter of Commissioner Superintendent Lewis Rogers, who had a tumor removed from her kidney; and Edgar Patton, III, nephew of Addie Richburg, Executive Director of the Commission. Edgar and his wife Jasmine gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and two days later, Jasmine died.

Episode 2: Premiered 5/12/2024

In this episode, Dr. Yohuru Williams sheds light on a crisis that is occurring among women in the United States that also disproportionately impacts African American women. The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among high-income nations. 700 women die annually as a result of pregnancy complications. African American women are 4-5 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women and most of those deaths are preventable. Edgar Patton III and his wife Jasmine gave birth to Emery, a beautiful baby girl. But two days later, Jasmine was dead. As a part of his healing, Edgar says that he is sharing his story to bring attention to this growing crisis. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) along with Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) co-chair the Black Maternal Health Caucus and have sponsored the Momnibus Act that addresses this issue.