Coronavirus Health

A Louisville activist and non-profit leader is helping to bridge the gap between health agencies and Louisville’s Black communities. 

Antonio T-Made Taylor, member of the Louisville civilian review and accountability board and co-founder of the non-profit Hip Hop Into Learning (HHN2L), has launched a new podcast. 

‘Real Talk with T-Made Taylor’ is a twice-monthly show with iHeart Radio, sponsored by the Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness. 

It came to fruition after the department’s Center for Health Equity began looking at ways to better reach some of Louisville’s most vulnerable communities, which were showing high rates of COVID-19 infection. 

The center partnered with more than two dozen community partners like Taylor to help provide resources and find out what issues communities were facing. 

The Center for Health Equity released a report in August from the first rounds of community listening sessions, which showed that some residents felt they didn’t have correct and timely information about the coronavirus, and that other resources had come later than they should have. 

Taylor is hoping to combat that disconnect by being a trusted source to real and necessary information about pandemic and other health issues. 

He said Black communities historically don’t place a lot of trust in healthcare institutions, because there have been reasons to be wary. One example is the Tuskegee Study in the 1930s, when hundreds of Black men known to have syphilis were not told and were left untreated, in order to study penicillin’s effects on the venereal disease. 

But Taylor said it goes to the ground level, from the way health insurance is processed to general barriers to care, including for pregnant women.  

“Many African American women, they lose their lives in childbirth because our women do not get the proper care they need,” he said. “They’re very overlooked and very underserved when it comes to that.”

His guests include doctors, activists, entrepreneurs and others in the community. To gauge what issues are the most important to listeners, Taylor is keeping his ear to the ground – checking his social media feeds to see what was coming up the most. 

“What I found was people are really really concerned about kids getting vaccinated,” he said. “That’s like the number one thing in the African American community right now when it comes to this COVID-19 disease and shots.”

The first seven episodes are available now for streaming, with two new ones each month.

“This is a move of the heart that I’m making to make sure that my people are informed and not misinformed,” he said. “That’s the most important part. So it’s just a different way of getting the information out that’s entertaining and we’re speaking the language of our community and of our listener audience.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly named The Center for Health Equity at the Department of Public Health and Wellness.

Aprile Rickert is WFPL's health reporter.