Roundtable Discussion On Racism In Health Care August 6th

SMITHFIELD – The Johnston County Heritage Commission’s Black History Committee will present a roundtable discussion on racism in health care on Thursday, August 6 at 7:00 pm. Entitled “The Right to Live: Re-examining Racism,” this will be accessible via YouTube (JohnstonNC Heritage) and Facebook (jocoheritage).

A 1968 photo of Dr. Charles W. Furlonge. A native of the British West Indies, Dr. Furlonge was the only African American physician in Johnston County for much of the 20th century (from around 1917 to the early 1970s). Dr. Furlonge will be featured in a brief presentation on the history of racism in health care on August 6th.

Panelists will include Georgia Anthony, Director of Project Access; Dr. Gettys Cohen, a retired dentist and Chairman of the Johnston County Chapter, NAACP; Dr. Eugene Maynard, Medical Director of Benson Area Medical Center and Chairman of the Johnston County Board of Health; Fred Nelson, Benson Town Manager and former administrator with RHA Health Service; and Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Director of the Johnston County Health Department. Dr. Twyla Casey Wells, Vice President of Advancement and Community Relations at Johnston Community College, will serve as moderator.

“We are pleased to bring together some of the most knowledgeable and insightful professionals in our county to talk about a difficult and controversial topic,” Johnston County Heritage Center Director Todd Johnson said. “Our intent is to provide a forum for teaching some of our history and for thoughtful and meaningful dialogue that can better inform decisions that affect those who have been denied certain rights simply because of the color of their skin.”

Audience members can weigh in and ask questions remotely during the Facebook Live feed.

This virtual event is the second discussion in a continuing series. Black voter suppression was the topic of the first session in February, held at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield. Future online sessions will deal with racism in criminal justice on September 10 and in education on October 8.

For more information call the Johnston County Heritage Center at 919-934-2836 or send an email to