State Representative Jarvis Johnson Addresses Sickle Cell Epidemic (Video)

Jarvis Johnson: My name is Jarvis Johnson, and State Representative here in the state of Texas in district 139. Well here to talk about Sickle Cell as we deal with the epidemic of Sickle Cell here in Texas and again across the country we want to make sure that we bring more awareness. This episode was one of the things that has become a part of my main platform in the state of Texas just to ensure that we're bringing more attention.

More research dollars and certainly being able to enhance some appropriations for patients that need the care or not getting it. Currently, I don't have a personal connection. I just have a cultural and community connection. The fact is is that Sickle Cell affects primarily people of color, minority, black and brown. I mean at the end of the day we start to realize that we're not doing enough tracking we're not doing enough. We don't have enough data to make sure that we're providing proper health care for the people that are affected. And so what we realize is that sickle cell has become a very expensive disease to deal with, and so I want to make sure that we're bringing more awareness to it. And as I said before making sure that we're doing the corporation the dollars that we need. To be able to give people a better quality of life. And at some point or another being able to eradicate this disease.

Well, it is a communal thing. We have to work together with organizations that are coming together being able to bring the stories and bring awareness is where it starts. We have to be able to let people know how it truly is affecting communities how it is affecting people's lives. And so this is the very first step at it.

I think we're at the ground level when it comes to awareness a little from Mayor starting to realize now how much of an economic impact we have to start understanding it. Just simply because there's no money available does not mean that we should not be placing attention to it because it's affecting our lives, it's affecting our bottom line, it's affecting communities, it's affecting hospitals, it's affecting how we're able to provide treatment, and so once we're able to bring the awareness and to the mayor we're starting to understand that it's costing a lot more than simply. Doing research to create a better medical service for those with these patients that absolutely need it.

While we have mentioned Sickle Cell in the past there was a big push in the 70s and 80s but you don't see people talking about Sickle Cell. There's not enough celebrities or enough big name people that that are talking about it, and as it is a cultural disease we have to be willing to say we as black people have to be the sound and just the sound off. We have to have the biggest voice to demonstrate that there is absolutely a need we should be able to have research dollars available. We should be able to create foundations by which doctors can pull from the money that we should be able to have more students in the medical field that want to be hematologists. That want to learn more about this disease so that we can eradicate it hasn't been sexy. It's not a sexy disease, but I want people one of the things that I do all the time is tell people. This is not a behavioral disease. This is a hereditary disease and so we have to understand people should not be ashamed.

People should not try to hide it. This is something that you were born with not something that your behavior created. But we certainly can do something to bring awareness to people so that they can feel comfortable knowing that it truly is affecting a lot more people than you would know. And so feel comfortable and feel empowered to say something because when you can say something then we can start the creation of a cure.

At the end of the day, I am nothing more than a lawmaker, that want to make sure that we have money available to the doctors and to the medical community and we want more of the pharmaceutical community to start putting more research into finding that cure. It is simply my job to go out there and to be an advocate a strong enough advocate to say to the world or until the foundations into the to the donors that we can get this money to be able to create or find a cure for it for this disease. And so as a legislator I will work diligently to do that.

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

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