Interview with Toni Johnson-Chavis

Now, why do you think it makes a difference that Blacks get to be doctors?


I think Blacks, ah, because I'm Black, but, ah, any Third World people who, and they don't necessarily have to be poor, ah, are going to be sometimes much more sensitive to the needs of not only other minorities, but as even proved to be in the clinic, to the needs of people, period. The truth of the matter is there are a huge amount of people who exist below the poverty line in America and that those are needs that are not met. A case in point is where I'm working right now. I'm in the city of Compton. It's a huge area with lots and lots of people and children. There are only two pediatricians in the area. There is no one who selected this area. I selected it really because I, quote "returned to the community," and I truly did that. Not a selection based on money but something to fulfill a need and if you look at NMA, National Medical Association, and you look at where Black doctors are, the majority of them are in areas of need. They're in poor areas. They're not only taking care of poor Black people, they're taking care of poor people, period. So, they're supplying a need. So, it was very, very important to me that we increased, ah, the amount of Black physicians we had in the United States as well as other minority physicians. We have a trend right now in the State of California that's rapidly becoming Hispanic and Asian, ah, we must take care of the needs of those patients. Not only the language needs but there are other needs too.