Ep22: Dr. Jayne Morgan, MD – Clinical Director, Covid Task Force at Piedmont Healthcare

Hills and Valleys is a podcast that uncovers stories from leaders in healthcare, tech, and everything in between. Straight from the heart of Silicon Valley, we give you a look at the good, the bad, and the future, one episode at a time. Brought to you by Potrero Medical.

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About Dr. Jayne Morgan

Jayne Morgan, M.D. is a Cardiologist and the Clinical Director of the Covid Task Force at the Piedmont Healthcare Corporation in Atlanta, GA.  Within this role she is developing ongoing community outreach in conjunction with the Division of Diversity and Inclusion between Piedmont and the African American community it serves.  Additionally, Dr. Morgan will be analyzing the science and data from Piedmont and nationally, surrounding the disproportionately negative impact of Covid-19 on minority communities.  Ultimately, the goal is to identify methods, as well as areas of improved triage, screening, and algorithms for the overall outcomes management of disadvantaged populations positive for Covid19.

Previously, Dr. Morgan was the Director of Innovation at Piedmont Healthcare, Inc. where she set the vision, trajectory, and strategic scaling opportunities, as well as seeking key partnerships and stakeholders to progress these goals.  In doing so, the program recognized close to a 50% success rate (national average is less than 10%) following the addition of an external investment of $23,000,000.00 for one project within the Accelerator, and the signing of the first ever licensing contract from an external stakeholder for yet another project. 

Dr. Morgan is a native Atlantan and completed her B.S. degree at Spelman College (Atlanta, GA), Medical Degree at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), Internal Medicine Residency at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), and both her Cardiology and Pacemaker Fellowships at Mount Sinai Medical Center (Miami, Fl).

Follow Dr. Morgan on LinkedIn


Khateeb: Hi everyone, I’m Omar the Director of Growth here at Potrero Medical. We have another fantastic interview for Hills and Valleys. This time, I’ve got someone who’s quite hard to get a hold of.

She’s got her hands in a lot of different projects and different things in the industry, both in the academic and private sector. Her name is Dr. Jayne Morgan. Dr. Morgan, thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Morgan: Thank you, Omar. I love being here.

Khateeb: Absolutely. For the listeners out there, Dr. Morgan and I have been connected on LinkedIn for some time and I’ve just been really inspired by the posts that I’ve seen. One week she’s on the news on CNN talking about vaccine trials, other times she’s dealing with innovation and other times she’s a physician.

There are so many things that she’s involved with and I knew that our audience would love to hear from somebody like her. I guess the first question I have for you is, Who is Dr. Morgan? Where are you from? How did you get into medicine and innovation? Like, what’s that story?

Dr. Morgan: Yeah, I’m a native Atlantan. I am a graduate of Spelman college. I went to medical school at Michigan state, and then Internal Medicine residency at George Washington university, and then Cardiology Fellowship at Mount Sinai. So that’s a lot. I moved around.

I practiced Cardiology for a while before going into industry, meaning the pharmaceutical industry at Solvay. It was then acquired by Abbott, about four or five years into my tenure. I became part of the acquisition; it was my first experience in being acquired without my input.

All of my projects were killed and that was a blow to my ego. Abbott was not interested in the projects that I was working on, the drugs that was leading the Cardio-renal Division—which is the heart and kidney division of Solvay. They weren’t interested in that and they offered me an opportunity to work in their Medical Device Division out in California. I’d never done devices, but that was my only opportunity that was offered. So, I guess it was this or hit the highway. I took it and fell in love with devices.

Abbott bought Solvay at the same time they bought a company called Evalve. Evalve was a company that had a device called the mitral clip, which would be the beginning of the whole structural heart. It would be the beginning of the whole structural heart revolution but, at the time, we didn’t know that.

What Abbott did I thought very smartly was it left Evalve entirely intact and brought it into Abbott as a division and they created a new division called the Structural Heart Division. However, the Structural Heart Division was actually the Evalve company, including their location, and their building. Nothing changed and they allowed it to run.

They decided to bring in myself during the acquisition as a Cardiologist to add to this Evalve team, which was really the Structural Heart Division of Abbott. That’s really how I began in devices. Even though I was working with Abbott, I was essentially working at a startup. All of the executives were there, they ran as a startup and I loved it. We moved much more quickly than a big pharmaceutical company. Decisions were made much more quickly and things changed much more quickly.

The decision makers from the top to the bottom were all at the table and that was just an environment that I really enjoyed. I thrived. I wasn’t aware that that existed and all of that came out of the acquisition.

From there, I was at the American Chemistry Council as Chief Medical Officer, before coming to Piedmont where I’ve been for the last five years in a multitude of roles. I was hired to lead the cardiovascular research program where I built out the entire structural heart feasibility program since I’m fresh out of Abbott, right?

Khateeb: That’s a huge undertaking, especially at a system like Piedmont. What was that like?

Dr. Morgan: Actually, it was less difficult than one might imagine because I had excellent physicians, cardiologists and interventionalists who were already there, very steeped in the aortic valve space. They were utilizing the tuber valves that were on the market. They were very interested but just didn’t have that piece of the puzzle where they could begin to do these in trials.

Then I was hired with this big structural heart background and they’re already in structural heart, very hungry and interested to move into clinical trials. And so, it was like the pieces of the puzzle coming together. They got that final piece that came in, somebody could who could actually develop this research for them and off we went. We brought in all the mitral trials and tricuspid trials.

It was a big support to our valve center and we were off to the races. However, the success of that was predicated on people who were already there in place. I was the final piece that needed to come into place. They needed that research piece to make it work. And so, when I came, the structure was in place, they just didn’t have the capability of someone who was able to build out that research part.

It was easier than you think as far as I didn’t have resistance, but then obviously the whole part of you’ve got to actually build it and get the clinical trials in and get your teams together, that was hard.

Khateeb: Interesting. Well, I’ve got to say I’m going to respectfully disagree on one part of it. You say that you were a piece of that, but based on your energy and what I see of you online, I think you’re probably more of the catalysts that made that whole thing happen. That’s just my personal opinion. I appreciate you being so humble.

Dr. Morgan: Well, I will say it takes a team, but I certainly was the final piece that was able to build that and take it over the finish line. However, I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have doctors who were already interested in these valve placements. It could have been that I would have needed to start it from scratch and actually hire physicians who are specialists in this area. So, my specialist existed when I got to the system.

Khateeb: That’s nice. Essentially the foundation was there. I guess as the old saying goes, If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, you’ve got to go together.

Dr. Morgan: Right.

Khateeb: There’s somethingI want to go back to a little bit. From your time in medical school and residency, through your experience in devices and industry and backend innovation, who were the mentors that you have? How did they influence you? Because you didn’t just show up to the Piedmont like, ‘This happened on us’.

There was some wisdom and training that you carried with you so that when you arrived, you knew what to do and how to essentially align and power this team. Who are those mentors? What kind of things did they teach you?

Dr. Morgan: Yeah. My experience is probably atypical of most people, but still very typical for black physicians. I would say with sadness that I never had a mentor. There was never someone who reached out to me. The transition in medical school can be very lonely and isolating. My residency program was excellent, but the leadership at my Cardiology Fellowship was very hostile.

That was three years of suffering through. I was one of just a couple of women. There were not black people there either, maybe I was just one of a couple of blacks in. I think it always starts with leadership and the head of the fellowship program was very hostile and unsupportive.

If you’re looking for a story of a journey, my journey, I think, is different from the journey of the majority, but typical of the journey of people of black and brown persuasions. And so, I think it can be challenging.

Now, should my journey typify what others do? No! You should certainly seek out mentors and maybe seek out even champions. I would say that at times in my career, I have tried to do that. I never approached people and it just hasn’t been welcoming. For the most part, my successes and also my failures are predicated in this innovation space on being able to be agile and not fragile.

Being able to pivot, being able to understand your work even when others don’t understand it and being able to stand on your own two feet. I think a lot of entrepreneurs have to be able to stand on their own two feet, right? You’re giving pitches and you’re trying to convince people who have no vested interest and maybe don’t even know much about it or even think it’s a value. You’ve got to really stand on your own and even after multiple rejections, it’s your internal fortitude and passion and understanding of what you’re doing that keeps you going forward. I would say that in that regard, I tend to have a lot of that fortitude, resilience and attitude to move forward than the average person—maybe even more.

I would say, in many instances, my journey has been hostile. It’s been unfair seeing people move ahead that probably shouldn’t have moved ahead. That being said, I think having mentorship and champions are incredibly important. These are people who can speak your name in rooms and in situations to which you would otherwise have no access and they can provide that access to you.

And so, if you were able to connect with people, they don’t have to be of the same gender or the same race or anything. Just someone who’s able to help you move forward. I think in that way, I have reached back and spent lots of time with students and people younger than I am. I really try to bring people forward and help develop their career because I think in my career that that was lacking. I don’t do it for that reason. I do it actually, because I do like to teach and I like to mentor. I also like to see people, especially women and minorities, really have an opportunity to reach their potential.

Khateeb: Absolutely. I love that you shared that because my father is a General Surgeon up in Chicago and I heard things very similar to what you just shared. Fortunately, I think in society today we’re definitely in a better place.

There’s still a lot to be done, but I think at least if I can speak for my generation, something that I think a lot of people can learn a lot is when you don’t have someone in your corner supporting you, how do you get that from the most important person, which is yourself? And it sounds like you looked to yourself and you picked yourself and said, I don’t care what these people have to say, I don’t care about the support that I’m not getting. All I need is myself. What can I do? And essentially you took the responsibility, right?

Dr. Morgan: Yeah, I took the responsibility on. I think it’s a matter of surviving, but I would like to see people of color in science and technology not have to survive. We need to be able to transition into thriving. Oftentimes we have to survive. Our careers are often marginalized. We’re not a part of the main core of the organization or the academia. We’re usually a part of “special projects” or whatever the special thing. We build new entities for them and once it’s built, it’s handed off to someone else and we’re moved out.

This marginalization is very common throughout our entire industry, especially for people of color. I think part of it is that people see us with their brains and not with their eyes.

So, what they see is all of the stereotypes, you know, blacks are dumb, women are docile, and everything else that they see. We’re constantly fighting against the stereotypes that people have inherently and they’re not able to see what is exactly in front of them, which is the person that they’re actually working with. Your brain is so powerful. No matter what, you really have to have significant experiences to overcome whatever has been integrated into you in your formative years and that’s very difficult.

Certainly, it’s difficult to overcome an entire boardroom of that, but overcoming one or two, may be different. It can sometimes be a lonely journey. However, that being said, I’ve made a wealth of friends in this journey. Everyone is not like that. I’m talking about the system in general, but within the system are all kinds of people. Certainly, there’s a lot of positive activity and, as you’ve said, I’ve had a very interesting career. I laughed when you used the word Interesting. You know, there’s an old Chinese proverb that’s actually Chinese curse and it says, ‘May you have an interesting life’.

Khateeb: [Laughs]It’s good to know because my boss is Chinese and I’ll have to talk to her.

Dr. Morgan: Yes, that’s a curse, ‘May you have an interesting life’. So, when you introduced my career as interesting, I laughed because within that ‘interesting’ encompasses the need to have been resilient, to reinvent yourself repeatedly, to be able to stay on your feet and to move forward. All of that is encapsulated in your term ‘Interesting’. That’s what you see in my career.

Khateeb: I love that because a lot of times we’re drawn to those who were like us. My career is definitely interesting because I went from being a biologist to being in med school and then I was in sales and marketing. I think it’s part of this thing about understanding that you get to decide who you are. I’m completely different now from who I was a few years ago.

The most important thing is embracing who I was growing up culturally, right? Something that my wife and I talk about is at the end of the day, the human brain is still the same brain we’ve had for hundreds and thousands of years. It’s not designed for modern time. And so, we have to put a lot of conscious effort and energy, even though our brain shortcuts these things where it’s like, Oh, this person is coming from a certain area or groups. When it’s like this, then we have to say, I need to put more energy and effort into evaluating them as an individual and not use shortcuts, as unconscious as it can be.

That’s the thing that I love about this. When I looked at your career in all these places, which half of the places other people would die to have that kind of pedigree, you had to reinvent yourself and say, “This was my identity who I was professionally and culturally at this time. Now, I’m going to take from these pieces that I’ve seen out in the world that I like and here’s what I’m going to move forward with.

Dr. Morgan: Some of these moves are involuntary and you’re then forced to take all the pieces of things that you’ve learned to bring them with you to address this new entity that you’ve never faced. You need to learn some new things, but you need to apply some old things and you’ve got to create something new. You need to do it quickly and you need to be very competent and successful in getting it done.

This is what I mean when I say you require the ability to be agile and flexible, because you don’t know what’s coming. A lot of changes in my career that you see, I didn’t choose them or I wasn’t pursuing them. I didn’t have an aha moment to say, “Now, Dr. James Morgan, what would you like to do with your career? You’ve been doing this for three years.”

No! Change came upon me. Reorganizations is what organizations call it, right? Lots of people suddenly find themselves in a new world and you either sink or swim.

Khateeb: You’re absolutely right. A lot of the things that elevated me as a professional didn’t happen because I made it happen. It happened because that’s what the environment dictated and I said, Okay, it’s either I have to change and evolve all these frameworks I had about how the world worked, the world’s different. I have to change with it.   

If there’s one thing that COVID did, it accelerated a lot of trends and showed us how quickly things can change and how you have to change with it, even if it’s as simple as saying, Okay now my wife and I are at home 24 hours a day, so we better find more things to do together and enjoy. We never used to workout together, now I’ve got to find a way to work out in a way that she enjoys and vice versa. It’s either we’re going to be happier or we’re going to stay in the way we are and be miserable.

Just for everybody to know we have a great marriage.

[Both laugh]

Dr. Morgan: Just to throw something else out there, I am a Pilates instructor.

Khateeb: Are you serious?

Dr. Morgan: I have about 17 certifications from two different schools, East coast and West coast, balanced body reformation, every piece of equipment from the chair to the Cadillac, to the tower, you name it. I’ve done it and I have my own Pilates school where I now teach.

Khateeb: Wow. What’s it called?

Dr. Morgan: Pilates with Dr. Jane.

Khateeb: Okay, I’m plugging that into a shout out. This is exactly the thing that I love. A lot of my friends who are coming out of residency and many young physicians who follow me online reached out for advice. I say to them, Listen, you cannot put yourself in this little box and say, ‘Oh, I’m a doctor during the day and things like that’.

It’s the same person and there’s no reason for you to be ashamed. We just interviewed Dr. Andrew Saudis, the Chief of Heart Transplantation and Heartbeat over at KU. He posts a lot about his personal life.

Dr. Morgan: I follow him too.

Khateeb: One thing he says is, I’m sick and tired of having to feel either ashamed or to apologize for who I really am in my personal and professional life and I’m done with it. That’s the kind of message that people need to hear. I think many physicians will listen to this podcast and say why is it that a lot of the rules we follow are not actually rules. They’re rules that we’ve somehow put in our head and accepted it like the gospel, but it’s not the case at all.

Dr. Morgan: Yeah. For people like me, our existence has been in trying to work around the rules because you get into organizations and you realize the rules really only apply to me. Others are not having to follow these rules, but they’re being applied to me.

So, I need to be even more creative.

Each time you’re trying to survive within a system that has a lot of inherent bias in it and the constant microaggressions, it’s not a matter of growing stronger. You become increasingly more creative each time you’re successful. If you’re moved or you move to another organization or another job role, all those abilities come with you. Then you’re able to create and provide deliverables to an organization at a level that’s higher than the other employees, because you’ve had to rely on many other factors to have the exact same seat. I call it a resilience factor.

Khateeb: Yeah. Of course, it took my generation I’m an older millennial to take things that are ancient wisdom and try to make it more mainstream. There’s this concept of how you do stoicism and practice suffering. So, if you didn’t grow up developing resilience, you got to find ways to essentially schedule it yourself.

What’s interesting is you said something and it’s the first time I heard someone articulate it my way. It’s that as you have to deal with different things, whether it’s microaggressions or different rules and organizations, you pick these things up and you become more creative.

I was speaking to my father about this when he came to the state of Chicago in the seventies, there’s a lot of xenophobia towards foreign graduate positions. If you look at hospitals these days, a lot of them by and large are all run by faculties who are foreigners.

I think they realize this and so they’ve had to become more creative and ask questions like, How do I influence this organization? How do I work with data?

But that’s a wonderful way to think about it. When you’re going through a very difficult obstacle, the obstacle becomes a way that develops.

Dr. Morgan: I think it’s good. One of the things that I often talk about is the interest that I have in improving minority recruitment into clinical trials.

Khateeb: You were on CNN recently discussing that, correct?

Dr. Morgan: I was on CNN talking about it. I’ve been talking about it for two or three years. Actually, COVID has provided an opportunity to discuss it relevant to the COVID vaccine trials that are being pushed ahead very quickly.

As I took a look at those trials, I began to be able to speak directly and succinctly on why it’s important to have black people in these trials. COVID is a great example. The community is being disproportionately impacted in death.  

Khateeb: Can you share with the audience how much more is a black community affected by COVID? I want people to hear this.

Dr. Morgan: I don’t know the exact numbers but certainly three to four times as much.

Death is certainly much higher. The transmission rate is higher. The long-term sequella seems to be higher too. When I say long-term sequella, meaning long-term effects where you are still feeling unwell even though you’ve converted to COVID negative. Somehow, you’re still not at a hundred percent and something’s not right. Those are called long-term sequella.

About 80 or 90 companies are rapidly developing vaccine trials and we’re not necessarily a part of these trials. Yet we are the group that is most disproportionately impacted. How can you develop a drug, device or a vaccine and you don’t have all kinds of people in them such that the treatment is relevant for everybody in our society?

Even before COVID, that is the point that I would make often when I would talk about minority recruitment into trials, but it’s a difficult thing. It’s somewhat of a taboo subject within the black community. We’re not interested in that. We have a long history of medical atrocities being committed against us in the name of science and research.

It’s just cruel and inhumane.

I think there’s such a distrust of the healthcare system. In place of trying to understand whether or not you would be a great candidate for trial, it’s safer—not better—but it’s safer to just say no. Then we don’t ever have to worry about what someone is doing because it’s not the information that’s being provided that we concern ourselves with; it’s the information that’s not being provided. What didn’t they tell us? What didn’t I know to ask and they’re not telling me and they’re going to do harm to me?

What has happened is that we’re outside of the system and drugs are developed that are not relevant for us. There are some things that are very specific to different cultures, like enzyme reactions and that type of thing. When we look at the kidneys, for example, you know I did a lot of Cardio-renal work at Solvay.

That’s what I’d say when I put together all the Cardio-renal work I did at Solvay, then I understand A1 Adenosine antagonist factors. I understand the Renin-Aldosterone-Angiotensin system, because I was leading those projects when I was at Solvay. So now, when we talk about that, this is another leaf that I can bring in from a previous role to say, All things are not the same. Even the way that our kidneys work sometimes can have little nuances and we need to understand how drugs are eliminated and metabolized. We’ve certainly had instances of drugs that are FDA approved that then had to subsequently be walked back because black people were being harmed by them, but we were never in the trials.

That’s kind of where we are. 80% of all black patients are seen by black physicians, but physicians also are not active in these trials. We are not asked to be principal investigators. The companies don’t reach out to us to have us be principal investigators. Usually it’s still white men for the most part, the practice of a white male doesn’t include black patients. And so, there’s that next separation with the black physicians. The number one reason that a person will agree to enroll in a trial is that a trusted physician asked them to enroll. You start to see all these degrees of separation as to why.

And then when we talk about leadership within clinical research, within hospital systems, you don’t see people like me, you and others. Therefore, those perspectives are not at the table. Those positions are not advocated and that sensitivity is absent. I’ve already discussed how oftentimes our roles are marginalized such that we don’t have a voice at the table. Again, we have yet a third degree of separation and you can see how there’s just a steady, systemic disenfranchisement of the black patient from clinical trials.

However, clinical trials really can serve to close the gap in health equity. This is because it brings you into the system, you have more frequent healthcare visits, you have a direct contact with the nurse or the research coordinator that’s working on the trial, you often have your drugs or devices provided for free so if you’re uninsured or under-insured, you don’t have the capacity to have healthcare. Yet all those things are absent because of multiple layers of a big system.

Khateeb: I think that’s a very correct way of putting it. Isolating these things don’t seem as bad, but as you start adding just even a couple of these things, the effects and impacts are astounding.

So, how do we start changing that at least with these trials in terms of recruiting more black patients participating in them.

Dr. Morgan: Yeah. I think the first thing that we can do is begin to reach out to the black physicians who also are not involved for all of the same reasons that come up through medical school; you’re fairly isolated.

Khateeb: You go to med school for four years and you disappear pretty much.

Dr. Morgan: You just disappear and you’re there to take care of patients. The academic centers as well as the corporations, device and pharma companies need to develop these relationships with black physicians who are treating all these black patients.

Secondly, hospitals and study sites must have people in clinical leadership who are competent to develop and lead these programs such that there’s visibility and cultural congruence that includes everyone. It should also include diversity of the staff as well who will have that interface with the patient. That’s certainly a call to action.

Then when we look at social determinants of health, maybe these study sites need to be set up, not just at major cities, academic and medical centers, but out in rural locations. This should be done such that people don’t have to deal with real life issues, such as transportation, taking time off from work, babysitting and all those things that you may not think about, but are real obstacles. If someone has to travel two or three hours to a doctor’s appointment or two or three hours home, and they don’t have a car, or they’ve got to take off from work. That’s crazy and all that stuff adds up.

Khateeb: What’s really disheartening which we saw very early was how COVID had a much higher mortality with the black community. You mentioned Cardio-renal syndrome. From the reports in New York, we’re seeing that Acute Kidney Injury is affecting about 37-40% of COVID patients. From a population standpoint, guess who has a lot of issues with the cardiovascular system? It’s the black community.

COVID is one thing, but when you add these things, this community is going to be the one who suffers the most post-COVID when “things go back to normal”. This is absolutely correct.

Dr. Morgan: That’s right. One of the reasons clinical trials is a unique opportunity to begin to close the gap in health equity is getting people into the system.

Khateeb: I never thought of it like that.

Dr. Morgan:  Outside the system, because the system is not safe for us. It’s not that medical treatment isn’t excellent at the medical centers and it’s not that you won’t treat me. It’s that you might mistreat me. I might be neglected. Am I safe? At least if I go to a black physician, I know I have an understanding that this person is not going to do something to hurt me. However, I don’t really have an understanding of that when I go to another physician or a healthcare system. All of this intrinsic bias that’s invisible really to the keepers of society, shall I say, it’s invisible to them. They’ve created it, but it’s obvious in every part of everyday life that the rest of us have to exist in.

That’s the part that keeps people away because they recognize that even though their doctor doesn’t look like them, it’s okay to go to a doctor that doesn’t look like them. They also understand that that doctor doesn’t understand all that it takes for that person to get there. Everything that it takes for that person to live, raise their children and get clothing.

Therefore, this person can’t really treat me. This person can’t heal me.

Khateeb: That’s a very good point.

Dr. Morgan: Then I see my black physician and now we’re back in the circle where the black physician is not connected to the academic center. The black physician is out in the community taking care of patients. And so round and round we go.

Khateeb: I’ve never heard anybody wrap up that complicated of an issue just in such a short amount of time, but you’re absolutely right. What’s most helpful is having the awareness of these things, understanding them and discussing them. More importantly, we have tools like social media. How do we use these things to connect to people and start raising the awareness and starting those initiatives? Are there any initiatives like that for the industry side? Are there societies or groups? What’s the best place to start to look?

Dr. Morgan: Yeah. That’s a big question and we’re working on that. I am the co-founder with three others founding a group. I believe we are calling it The Color of Science. It’s still very new. Our initiative for the first year is going to be focused exclusively on recruitment of minorities into clinical trials. It’ll include educating minorities on clinical trials as well as what is the oversight of the FDA now that wasn’t there in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s when these experiments with the Tuskegee Airmen were being done. When Henrietta Lacks was coming through the system and we’re still benefiting from these HeLa cells.

What’s different now? That’s the kind of conversation that we’re beginning to have with our communities and it’s going to be our launch mission for our first year. We’ve got to start to insist that people that look like me, you, and all other people—whether black or brown—are in key leadership positions in research and are not marginalized and moved out. This should be done such that those voices are at the table, patients can be empowered and there can be an assurance of health equity throughout the system, which is what we’re supposed to be about in a healthcare system.

Khateeb: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. More often than not, it feels very much like a disease care system. And when it’s a disease care system, you’re focused on treating, which is one factor.

The big thing is that once the patient leaves the hospital, guess what happens? They’re back in the same environment and that’s why they end up coming back. During the short amount of time I was in medical school on the border, we had these patients come back and it was kind of blatantly obvious. It’s not that these people are stupid or that they don’t care or anything. It’s just that healing is not an easy thing.

Technically, I guess it can be easy, but it’s not simple. It’s easy for you to just keep your diabetes low. Don’t go home and eat or drink these things. That’s easy, but it’s not simple because you have to understand from a community as a culture. What are those dynamics and how do they influence things like food, healthcare, all these things?

Dr. Morgan: And what access do you have to them? Do you have access to care?

Khateeb: I agree with youa hundred percent. Kevin Mahoney, who’s the CEO of PennMed, talked about this. They launched a free app for behavioral health at the beginning of COVID because they realized that many of their staff and employees don’t have access. They have to get an appointment and referrals. So, he said, We need to make this as easy as possible. On the ‘plus side’ of COVID—actually, I don’t even want to say the plus side—it accelerated trends that we needed to happen and it just happened a lot faster, like telemedicine. It’s like saying, People are going to be stuck at home and we need to get better access because the world we live in is technically designed for a lot of people who are essentially dead these days. It’s an old world. So how do we design it to be better?

Because whether you and I like it or not, this is the reality, so we have to figure out how we can fix these things and innovate around them. Otherwise it’s going to perpetuate and get worse, right?

Dr. Morgan: Right.

Khateeb: I want to be mindful of your time. We’ve got two minutes to our stop time.

We said it’s going to be a California stop, so we’re going to go a little bit passive. I have some quick, rapid fire questions for you. You can take as long or as short as you’d like to answer them.

First question to you. If you had a billboard that went in front of every single hospital and every single major city in the US for a whole year, and everyone’s going to read it including healthcare workers, physicians, nurses, and everyone. What would that billboard say and why?

Dr. Morgan: That bill board would say “We are in”. It would be the hashtag “We are in”. The reason that billboard would say that is because it would be a voice from the African-American community that is saying that we’re standing up and we have decided that we are going to be counted in clinical trials now.

We’ve decided that we’re going to move forward and we’re going to request this information. We are going to demand that our physicians get involved in these trials, such that they can talk with us about it, and we can hear it from a trusted partner. I would say that billboard would just say, #WeAreIn.

Khateeb: Well, I love that. You should start that hashtag if you haven’t already. My next question which might be the last one because I know we have to wrap up, but I do want to make sure that we talk about how people could follow and reach you. I know you’re a reader like myself. For everyone who’s watching this on video, you can see that I read a lot of books.

What’s a book, either a favorite book or a book you’ve read recently, that you’ve been gifting most often to people and why?

Dr. Morgan: You know, I rarely gift a book. I’ll tell you what, I read a lot. I’ve been so distraught over The Social Structure and maybe deconstructing the fabric in the last three or four years. I’ve read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, which I thought was very eye-opening really just discussing from a white person the contempt that many white people have for black people, how it starts early and what that means.

I read White Rage by Carol Anderson, which was along the same vein, but going through historical aspects regarding the need for white superiority and that there is a need for the inferiority of blacks for white superiority to exist. I read Grit by Angela Duckworth, and I think it applies to me a lot when you talk about my ‘interesting’ career.

I believe Grit is a study by a psychiatrist of different people all across the world to know what differentiates people who have that stick-it-out-ness, including in the military. They stay and work at it as opposed to others who fall off and say, Oh, this is too hard I’m going to try something else. It’s not that one is better or worse. We need people to try a lot of things and we need some people to stick to things and it’s called grit. And so, I’ve read that book as well.

I’ve read a lot of books. [Laughs]

Khateeb: Those aregood recommendations. Again, we really appreciate you spending some time with us. I’m just going to tell you right now; I have a feeling that I’m going to be asked to have you back.

[Dr. Morgan laughs]

Khateeb: FYI, that’ll happen faster than you know. For those who are listening and watching, what’s the best way to find you and follow you on social media?

Dr. Morgan: Well, you know what, I do not have that. However, I’m on LinkedIn. You can find me as Jayne Morgan MD. If you let me know that you were on this podcast, that’s great. I am looking to start an Instagram account, so maybe look for it in the next two or three weeks, and it’s called Pilates with Dr. Jayne.

Khateeb: Got it. The website you have, is it pilateswithdrjane.com? 

Dr. Morgan: There is no website either.

Khateeb: That’s more of a reason to do Instagram then.

Dr. Morgan: I think I’m going to just do Instagram. Like everybody else, I sort of just pushed into the virtual world with my Pilates. I’ve been teaching for 10 years, but started teaching virtually in April. I really was just doing it for about 60 days or so to bridge my clients until we could get back into the studio. Now it looks as if it’s going to be a permanent thing. I’ll be starting an Instagram page and a webpage, but the IG page will go up first.

Khateeb: When they’re ready, you just let me know and I’ll update it in the show notes.

Dr. Morgan: Yeah, that’d be great.

Khateeb: Dr. Morgan thank you so much. Please stick around for just a second. Thank you all for listening, it has been another episode of Hills and valleys. Again, we’ll leave in the show notes all these links for Dr. Morgan’s pages and as always, we’ll see you next time. Bye for now.