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Bright Spots in Healthcare

May 30, 2024


Katherine Gergen Barnett, MD, Vice Chair of Primary Care Innovation and Transformation in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Cheryl Harding, patient and community advocate, join Eric to share how Boston Medical Center is utilizing storytelling to build trust and connection between the hospital and its community partners. Katherine and Cheryl discuss the impact medical mistrusts has on health outcomes and health disparities.


They also tell how the "Storytelling to Build Medical Trust" project was born out of the desire of BMC to improve the health and well-being of Black and brown community members. The project puts a face to the statistics and allow community members to explain why they lack trust in the overall healthcare system.

Hear how this unique project has brought the medical and local communities together and how empathy and trust can help advance health equity and narrow health disparities.


About Katherine

Katherine Gergen Barnett, MD, is a family medicine physician and the Vice Chair of Primary Care Innovation and Transformation in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center (BMC). Dr. Gergen Barnett is also a clinical associate professor at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. Her primary clinical interests are behavioral health, preventive medicine, nutrition, trauma-informed care, gender-affirming care, women’s health, reproductive care, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and group medical care. Dr. Gergen Barnett’s research focuses on innovative models of care to address chronic medical conditions and physician burnout and engaging community partners in creating feasible solutions to increase health and wellness and to address medical distrust in traditionally marginalized communities. Dr. Gergen Barnett is involved in local and state health policy addressing health inequities and national policy addressing primary care delivery and is a regular contributor to The Boston Globe, Boston Public Radio, and various television outlets.


About Cheryl

The founder of a Boston nonprofit, From Roots to Wings, Cheryl continues to be a strong voice for the underserved and underrepresented to ensure that everyone gets access to information, services and opportunities. 


About the Project

“Storytelling to Build Medical Trust” focuses on highlighting the experience and wisdom of community members, who shared in video interviews their negative interactions with the healthcare system in the hope that the healthcare industry would finally listen. The project is jointly led by Boston Medical Center, Everyday Boston, and the B.L.A.C Project, in partnership with Transformational Prison Project, We Got Us, and EmVision Productions. The project was funded by Boston University Clinical and Translational Science Institute and MA-CEAL. Learn more at


About Boston Medical Center

Boston Medical Center is a non-profit 514-bed academic medical center and safety-net hospital in the South End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. As part of the Boston Medical Center Health System, the hospital provides primary and specialty care to residents of the Greater Boston area. Boston Medical Center is a founding partner of the Boston Medical Center Health System, which is focused on creating a coordinated, equitable, value-based continuum of care to deliver world-class care to patients and health plan members. Find out more at