The Rev. Kyev Tatum’s community felt cut off from access to healthcare during the pandemic. So when the opportunity finally came to bring big healthcare organizations to Morningside, Tatum was ecstatic.

“We went through this entire pandemic, with none to very few of these organizations coming into this community,” Tatum said. “When we reach out to them, they know they can come and be of help here because we’re welcoming them here.”

The 2022 African American Health Expo arrived in Morningside on April 30, opening doors for residents to connect with health organizations.

“Now, they know where we are,” Tatum said. “There are no doctors, no pharmacists, no clinics, no grocery stores. Access is the No. 1 challenge. For a day, we see how it feels to have access.”

Over 75 vendors signed up for the event, and the day ended with performances by Next Level Cheer & Dance, a Tarrant County-based cheerleading team.

Visiting organizations included the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Healthy Start, Moncrief Cancer Institute, Tarrant County Public Health’s Health Equity and Community Engagement Division, Tarrant County’s Chronic Disease Prevention department, The Women’s Center and the North Central Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s is “one of the biggest challenges we are faced with coming out of the pandemic,” Tatum said. 

Tatum’s New Mount Rose Baptist Church members are mostly over 70 years old. They lack access to mental disease information, he said.

“My brother died before 65. All of my brothers and sisters and mom died before 65. So, this is real for us,” Tatum, 56, said.

When people with the facts and financial support get with the people on the ground, change can happen, he said.

Brielle Morgan, the diversity program director at the Alzheimer’s Association, is in charge of narrowing the disparities in the Black community. She is a part of the care and support team that helps caregivers deal with family members who have Alzheimer’s.

Nearly 20% of residents in the 76104 ZIP code are older than 60. The ZIP code is majority women, 54%, and over 30% Black.

“Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association. “Older Black Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older Whites.”

“In our community, there’s a higher rate and there’s less people participating in clinical trials and research. There’s less outreach,” Morgan said. “It’s mostly happening in the churches.”

The 2022 African American Health Expo was a step forward in making residents comfortable to reach out to resources, Tatum said. He hopes the expo returns to Morningside annually.

“Probably once a quarter, we need to have something over here, to kind of spike this community back up,” Tatum said.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.