Directed by Charles Burnett and Daniel Loewenthal (USA, 2019, 56 min.). Digital.
Power to Heal presents a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate access to healthcare for all Americans. Central to the story is the tale of how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country practically overnight.
Before Medicare, disparities in access to hospital care were dramatic. Less than half the nation’s hospitals served black and white patients equally, and in the South, one third of hospitals would not admit African Americans even for emergencies. Using the carrot of Medicare dollars, the federal government virtually ended the practice of racially segregating patients, doctors, medical staffs, blood supplies, and linens. Power to Heal illustrates how civil rights leaders and grassroots volunteers pressed and worked with the federal government to achieve justice and fairness for African Americans.
Followed by a panel discussion with Barbara Berney, film producer and associate professor, Department of Public Health and Health Policy, CUNY; Phillip Gonzalez, senior program officer, Tufts Health Plan Foundation; Ronald Lammy, president, Elder Health Care Disparities Coalition; Michael Meltsner (featured in the film), Northeastern University School of Law; Deborah Washington director of diversity for nursing and patient care services, Massachusetts General Hospital. Moderated by Judy Ann Bigby, former secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and executive director of South Africa Partners, Inc.
Co-presented with the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc (CCHERS)