First Black-owned medical clinic on Black Wall Street in over 50 years seeks health equity

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GREENWOOD Dist.–Juno Medical Clinic has officially opened its doors on Black Wall Street, beginning an effort to expand access to health care for one of the most underserved communities in the nation.

Tuesday’s grand opening, a celebration that included free food and music, comes 102 years after the city-sanctioned Tulsa Race Massacre set fire to Greenwood and over 50 years after the city’s urban renewal project bulldozed through the community a second time.

Juno, a Black-owned, healthcare startup with locations in Harlem, Brooklyn and Atlanta, has chosen Tulsa native Dr. Jabraan Pasha to lead its Tulsa branch. In an interview with The Black Wall Street Times, Dr. Pasha expressed his passion for expanding access, improving life expectancy and advancing health equity in the community that raised him.

Dr. Jabraan Pasha, Medical Director for Juno Medical Tulsa and VP of Health Equity for Juno Medical. (Photo by Deon Osborne / The Black Wall Street Times)

“We just try to bring convenience to health care, which doesn’t exist. And our most important value is excellence. So, if you bring convenience and excellence to health care you’ve got you’ve got a winning recipe, and we think we do,” Dr. Pasha said.

Dr. Pasha brings health equity to his hometown

Born and raised in historically Black North Tulsa, Dr. Pasha went to school and Carver Middle School and Booker T. Washington High School, a beacon of the community. After finishing his medical undergrad program in Tulsa, Dr. Pasha performed his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Returning to Tulsa in 2013, he continued his career at the University of Oklahoma School Community Medicine and has also taught students at St. John’s hospital while treating patients.

“During that time there I really got involved in health equity. And I really started to have a better understanding of why certain communities were less healthy than others,” Dr. Pasha told The Black Wall Street Times.

The inside of Juno Medical Tulsa. (Photo courtesy of Juno Medical Tulsa)

Determined to educate communities on the negative racial health disparities impacting Black Americans, Dr. Pasha has traveled across the nation teaching health inequities and the solutions needed to reverse them.

“But there was just something that was missing, and it was literally being in the community that I was trying to help,” he said.

In September, Dr. Pasha received an email from Juno Medical founder Dr. Akili Hinson. After a conversation over lunch, Dr. Pasha was sold on the values of the fast-growing company. Dr. Pasha became the medical director for the Tulsa clinic and Vice President of Health Equity for the entire company.

“The mission is simple: It’s to create a healthier world,” Dr. Pasha said. “Ten years from now we’re going to be a different sized company, and we really will have the ability to literally create a healthier country, create a healthier world.”

Reversing the life expectancy gap at Juno Medical

According to the city of Tulsa’s own data, residents of predominantly Black North Tulsa face a more than 10-year life expectancy gap with residents of predominantly White south Tulsa. Nationally, Black Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic diseases like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and diabetes. They’re also more likely to die from them.

“The health of Black men continues to be worse than that of nearly all other groups in the United States,” according to a report from the National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine. “On average, Black men die more than 7 years earlier than do US women of all races, and Black men die younger than all other groups of men, except Native Americans.”

Another study found that Black Americans living in formerly redlined communities face a higher risk of heart failure than Black Americans in non-redlined communities.

On the left, a 1930s map from the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation shows the areas that were redlined and deprived of resources. A new study shows Black residents of formerly redlined communities face higher risks of heart failure.

Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, chair of the U.S. Commission on the Social Status of Black men and boys, recently held a panel discussion on tackling racial health disparities.

“Structural racism, mass incarceration, segregation, gun violence, police violence, and various other factors have contributed to the disproportionately poor health profile experienced by Black men in the United States,” her office stated.

According to Dr. Pasha, reversing the health disparities ultimately requires reversing economic disparities, too.

“We could have a clinic on every corner, and that life expectancy difference that exists would not budge if we do not improve the finances and the socio-economics of these communities,” Dr. Pasha said.

Following in the footsteps of Dr. A.C. Jackson

Located at 21 North Greenwood suite A, the 3,800 square-feet office of Juno Medical sits just a few feet away from where Dr. Andrew Chesteen Jackson held a medical practice on Black Wall Street 102 years ago.

Shot to death at point-blank range by members of the city-sanctioned White mob on May 31, 1921, Dr. A.C. Jackson was recognized nationally as a surgeon and infectious disease specialist who saw patients of all races.

Dr. Andrew Chesteen Jackson. (Photo courtesy of The Victory of Greenwood.)

“He was the foremost colored physician in the southwest and was held in high regard not only by members of his own race, but also by many prominent whites,” The Tulsa Daily World wrote days after the Massacre, according to archives shared with the National Institutes of Health.

Following in his footsteps, Dr. Pasha said he could never replace Dr. Jackson, but he strives to lead in his legacy. He first heard about Greenwood and Black Wall Street in the seventh grade.

“And I remember hearing about Dr. A.C. Jackson, how people came from all over the country to see this Black surgeon, people of all different backgrounds. And so to try to continue something that he started so long ago, and it has been on hold for 50-plus years, is the honor of my lifetime,” Dr. Pasha said.

“I’m not A.C. Jackson. I could never be, but I feel like I have the opportunity to carry the torch a little bit further for the next folks that are that are going to be coming up.”

Juno Medical Tulsa is ready for your next appointment

With convenience and excellence at the top of mind, Juno Medical Tulsa is for the modern, working family, Dr. Pasha said. Regardless of ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation or gender identity, Juno Medical seeks to support people from all walks of life across the Tulsa metro.

“The modern family is a family that works, right? And so we have really accessible hours,” he said.

Juno Medical Tulsa is open seven days a week: Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The clinic offers primary care, women’s health, pediatric care and same-day, urgent care.

To book a visit with Juno, visit their website or call 918-380-8860.

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