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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

Rebuilding the trust between Black communities, health care system

Trust between patients and the health care system is crucial now more than ever.

Trust between patients and the health care system is crucial now more than ever.

For many years, that trust between the black community and the health care system hasn’t been strong.

“That is a big issue,” said Rhonda Potts. “I myself am 67. I waffled back and forth about getting it."

For her, that indecision stems from a lack of trust in health care.

“My father was ill and had congestive heart failure and never properly expressed them to his doctor,” said Potts.

10TV spoke with Kyle Strickland, a Senior Legal Analyst at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. He said Rhonda isn’t alone.

“There’s a history of mistreatment and abuse from the government and the medical profession when it comes to treating black people,” said Strickland.

The Tuskegee Experiment is the most well-known. It started in 1932 and lasted for more than 40 years. Black men unknowingly volunteered to be tested on for syphilis.

Strickland said they never got treatment. Some spread the infection to others and many died from it.

“That type of abuse people like to think that it’s something that happened so long ago, not realizing that’s not that far from where we are today,” he said.

And even today the COVID-19 vaccine is on the top of everyone’s minds.

It’s safe and effective. Dr. George Barnett said this is a good example where trust can be rebuilt with certain groups of people because of what’s at stake.

“The vaccine is just one tool in the tool kit to basically conquering the pandemic,” said Dr. Barnett.

Dr. Barnett has more than 40 decades of experience as a family physician.

Over those years, he said he’s gained the trust of nearly 3,000 patients.

The technology is there, and anyone can apply the technology, black, white, Greek, yellow, red that doesn’t make a difference. Patients want to go to people who look like them,” said Barnett.

Dr. Barnett said right now, the COVID-19 vaccine is the opportune time to help repair that trust. And, Potts, agrees.

“That distrust has been passed along and passed along, someone needs to say hey, let’s sit down and talk about this and see if you can change their minds about it,” said Potts.

At first, she was on the fence about the vaccine. Potts told 10tv she’s waiting to receive her second dose.

“In light of COVID-19 it has to be addressed. Because my doctor didn’t see anything wrong that I shouldn’t be able to, so I decided ok I’m going to go ahead and do it,” she said.