Marcus C. Griffith, MD, says Black physicians can better connect with vaccine-hesitant people of color


In a recent interview with the American Medical Association, Permanente physician Marcus C. Griffith, MD, said that Black physicians are in a unique position to better connect with people of color about vaccination for COVID-19.

“When it’s someone who looks like you, who lives where you live, goes to the same places as you — the same barbershop, the same church — it does help with that,” said Dr. Griffith, a psychiatrist and obesity medicine physician with The Southeast Permanente Medical Group.

Dr. Griffith’s leadership in addressing vaccine hesitancy initially began around educating communities on the flu shot, which naturally transitioned into COVID-19 vaccination. He regularly speaks with patients from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups — such as Black, Latino, and Native American populations — about vaccine hesitancy.

In the interview, “Q&A: How this Black doctor fights COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy,” Dr. Griffith said about half of his vaccine-hesitant patients changed their minds after a conversation with their trusted physician.

“Using my experiences in relationships with patients, who I’ve been seeing and building on that trust to let them know: Hey, this is a real condition,” said Dr. Griffith, who is also a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry for Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“You see lots of information, disinformation, misinformation. Do you trust me? Do you trust your doctor? Do you trust your nurse? I have not led you astray for the past 10 years, 20 years. I’m not going to lead you astray on this.”

Note: To read the full interview with Dr. Griffith, visit the AMA website.