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Meharry’s Dr. Millard D. Collins Highlights COVID-19’s Impact on People of Color

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For months, southeast Nashville has remained a hotspot for growing COVID-19 cases, the area has a high percentage of essential workers and several diverse immigrant communities.

News 2 spoke with a physician at Meharry Medical College about the factors that continue to fuel COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color.

“You know COVID-19 is shining a light on what we all have been knowing for years about disparities,” said Dr. Millard D. Collins, Chair of Meharry’s Family Medicine.

Collins explained that people of color, specifically Black people, are more likely to suffer from comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes.

“They have direct effects on someone’s immunity and if you can’t mobilize your soldiers to fight this disease, then you can be susceptible to it running rampant.”

Throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 deaths from presumably healthy people of color have also been reported; those deaths are more perplexing for healthcare professionals.

Collins said those cases will require more research from the science community.

“When we hear of these 23-year-olds and 30-year-olds with no known, ‘known’ being the huge word there, preexisting conditions, it gets everyone’s attention.”

According to the latest census estimates, Black people are only 17% of Tennessee’s population but according to the latest numbers from the state, so far Black people have comprised 35% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

Collins said, “They’re having to choose between going to work to take care of their families or risk getting sick, so that’s what we’re dealing with, we’re dealing with lots of anxiety.”

He said he encourages people of color to find the right physician.

“I think that people have to find a healthcare provider that gives them all that they need in terms of a listening ear and compassion.”

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Coronavirus Testing Site Opens at Meharry

NASHVILLE, TN- A Drive-up COVID-19 assessment site in North Nashville opened Monday on the campus of Meharry Medical College.

The Meharry site located at 918 21st Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37217 is one of several COVID-19 assessment sites organized by the Nashville Metropolitan Government.

The city is asking potential patients to call the Community Assessment System Hotline at 615-862-7777 before coming out. A medical professional will determine if a patient’s symptoms warrant testing.

Dr. Duane Smoot, Interim Senior Vice President for Health Affairs at Meharry Medical Group, said Meharry is serving as a location for COVID-19 testing as a way to give back to the community and to offer access to underserved residents.

“Our health professionals at Meharry wanted to make sure testing is available to everyone,” Dr. Smoot said. “Operating a testing site on our campus allows greater access for those in North Nashville and the surrounding areas who may not have the means or transportation to get tested at other locations throughout the city.”

As testing ramps up around the country, a group of doctors in Virginia raised concerns about whether black communities and underserved groups might be disproportionately missing out on getting tested for COVID-19, according to reports. There is also concern about whether African Americans and low income groups have greater susceptibility because of poverty, pre-existing conditions and lack of access to health care facilities.

The Meharry site is one of two new assessment centers for COVID-19 opened Monday in Davidson County. A community assessment center also opened Monday in the parking lot of Nissan Stadium, Lot “N,” 1 Titans Way, Nashville, TN 37213.

A third assessment center is scheduled to open in Antioch April 1, in the parking lot of the former Kmart, 2491 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37217.

The assessment centers will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and are for Nashville residents only. Testing is free of charge.

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Meharry Medical Group opens new primary care clinic

Meharry Medical Group has a new primary care clinic to provide convenient care to patients.   

The new clinic accepts appointments and walk-in patients. It is located on the 4th floor of the Meharry Clinic building. 

The two physicians staffing the clinic are Dr. Susanna Awoyode and Dr. Heran Mengesha. 

Dr. Awoyode is a 2004 alumnus of the College of Ibadan College of Medicine in Nigeria. She completed the internal medicine residency training program at Meharry Medical College in 2019. Prior to training at Meharry, Dr. Awoyode matriculated at Johns Hopkins University- Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md. earning the Master of Health Sciences degree (M.H.S) in 2014.   

Dr. Mengesha is a graduate of Boston University and a 2013 alumna of Addis Ababa University, School of Health & Sciences, Medical Faculty, Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She completed the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at Meharry in 2019.  

Clinic hours are Monday Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.  

To schedule an appointment call 615-327-MD4U (6348) and ask for an appointment in the 4th floor Primary Care clinic. 

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Meharry offers free app to access Patient Portal through mobile devices

Patients of Meharry Medical Group now have access to a free mobile app that will allow access to the patient portal through cell phones and mobile devices. 

The Healow app (Health and Online Wellness) is a secure app that allows patients to: 

  • Access multiple Patient Portal accounts from a single location  
  • Personalize and manage your medications 
  • Obtain lab results
  • Access your Personal Health Record 
  • Control and view your past or upcoming appointments as well as the summaries of your past visits 
  • Receive interactive health alerts and messages from your doctor 

All data is SSL-secured with 128-bit encryption and is compliant with all federal HIPAA regulations. 

The app can be used on any Apple® or Android® enabled device.

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Meharry Family Medicine and OB/GYN Clinics open in new space

Meharry Medical Group’s Family Medicine and Women’s Health OB/GYN clinics have relocated to a newly renovated space on the first floor of the Meharry Clinic building. 

Construction crews worked for several months to build the new area, which had previously been used as administrative offices. The result is a beautiful new clinic space that provides a welcoming and up-to-date environment for patients. 

The Family Medicine Clinic was previously housed on the 3rd floor and the OB/GYN Clinic was previously housed on the 4th floor of the Meharry Clinic building at 1810 Albion St. in Nashville.

The newly renovated space offers central registration, a new electronic medical record and patient portal, all-new furnishings and décor, as well as valet parking. 

The Pediatrics Clinic on the 2nd floor of the Meharry Clinic building has also received a facelift, with new furnishings and updated décor.

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Elam Mental Health Receives National Accreditation

The Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, popularly referred to as CARF.

CARF provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of health and human service providers. Providers that meet CARF standards have demonstrated their commitment to being among the best available. The mission of CARF is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of persons served.

The Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center was given a three-year accreditation as a CARF accredited facility. The CARF team noted that the Elam Center achieved “substantial conformance to the standards,” listed for accreditation.

They went on to note: “It is evident that the staff and leadership have embraced the challenge of implementing the CARF accreditation standards. Services provided are delivered by dedicated staff, with evidence of a person-centered focus on service delivery. Clients are satisfied with the services they receive, and external stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the services provided to shared clients.”

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Meharry Welcomes Dr. S L Lampkin

Meharry graduate Dr. S L Lampkin has merged his family medicine practice into Meharry Medical Group after practicing in Nashville for more than 20 years.  

Dr. Lampkin integrated his practice into Meharry Medical Group in 2019, and accepted a faculty position in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.  

As a primary care doctor, Dr. Lampkin is experienced in adult and children’s care along with services such as women’s health, maternity care, diabetes, hypertension management, dementia treatment and geriatric medicine. 

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Lampkin and his patients to the Meharry family. 

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Meharry Medical Group meets Quality Measures, achieves NCQA Recognition

Meharry Medical Group has received National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition for all four of Meharry’s primary care clinic locations: Family Medicine (main campus), Family Medicine (at Skyline), Pediatric Clinic (main campus), and Total Health (Antioch).  

Meharry Medical Group contracted with the State of Tennessee in 2018 for its Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program.  

Part of that contract required Meharry to become NCQA accredited by midyear 2019. Meharry Medical Group reached its goal and as a PCMH uses a team approach to help patients receive optimal care. 

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Meharry’s Community Wellness Center featured on WKRN News

Drug maker donates millions of bottles of HIV prevention pill for uninsured patients

Meharry Medical Group’s Dr. Vladmir Berthaud was featured in a WKRN news broadcast on HIV prevention medication. Dr. Berthaud is an expert in infectious disease and oversees the Meharry Community Wellness Center, located on the third floor of the Meharry Clinic building. 

For appointments at the Meharry Community Wellness Clinic, call 615.327.5788. 

Click here to view the WKRN news story. 

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Dr. Lloyda Williamson Discusses Need for Black Psychiatrists

Meharry Medical Group’s Dr. Lloyda Broomes Williamson, M.D. is featured in an editorial in Heart & Soul Magazine about the critical needs for Black psychiatrists across the country. 

Dr. Williamson is an expert in adolescent and child psychiatry and is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Meharry Medical College which oversees Meharry’s psychiatry residency program. 

“It is critically important that we work to address the racial, societal, educational, institutional and political factors which negatively impact our ability to recruit Black students, especially Black males, into medical school and into specialties such as psychiatry,” Williamson says in the article. 

To read the Heart & Soul article online, click here.

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