Gets Real: Jacksonville clinic aims to end medical mistrust in the Black community

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax is getting real about health care. For decades, a deep-rooted mistrust of the medical community has created health care barriers for families of color. A local clinic is working to rebuild trust to improve overall health in the community.

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For years, Beatrice Jones struggled with medical mistrust after she said doctors didn’t take her pain seriously.

“I would go to different doctors trying to get some type of relief. I went to chiropractors, acupuncture, physical therapist,” said Jones.

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While searching for a new doctor for her elderly mother, Jones found Dedicated Senior Medical Center and Dr. May Montrichard, one of the clinics primary care physicians, who recommended a neurologist.

Jones became a patient because the clinic, with three locations across Jacksonville, heard her health concerns and helped treat them.

“The initial pain from the surgery is gone,” said Jones.

Jones needed a cervical decompression laminectomy, a surgery that relieved the pressure on her nerves and spinal cord. She wears a scarf to hide the scar on her neck.

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Montrichard believes medical mistrust wouldn’t be such an issue if more doctors would take the time to understand different cultures. She said she learned that after being a department chief for a medical center on foreign soil when she was a lieutenant in the military. Montrichard has nearly 40 years of medical experience.

“I had to interact with other hospitals systems to be certain that the population of Americans was getting the care that they required,” said Montrichard. “It’s important to establish that trustful relationship because without trust you are not going to share a lot with your provider.”

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Jones said she and Montrichard share a lot after the entire staff at the clinic showed her that she is cared for on and off the clock, regardless of her skin color.

“They actually came to my home, and they didn’t have to do that,” said Jones.

Jones said the clinic’s staff also provides free rides when they can and snack bags at the end of every visit, as well as weekly cookouts and a 24/7 open phone line to each patient’s primary care physician.

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