Toni Young

CHARLESTON, WV — The Community Education Group (CEG) is launching Black In Red, a podcast and video docuseries featuring Black lawmakers, healthcare professionals, and community leaders whose work impacts Black rural community members. The podcast aims to make a difference in Black lives, help Black Americans thrive, and engage and empower Black people to protect their health. 

Hosted by CEG’s Founder A. Toni Young, the podcast will address Black community members in red, rural environments in Appalachia, the Deep South, and rural America.  

The goal is to increase understanding of basic science and public policy and improve the health literacy of Black people, their providers, and allies. 

“Portrayals of rural America are consistently White-centric. Yet, 21% of America’s rural population comprises racial and ethnic minorities. Of those, 8% of rural Americans are Black,” says Young. “Black Americans living in rural parts of the United States face greater barriers to accessing care, treatment, and services, including transportation issues, lack of broadband services to support telehealth/telemedicine visits, and social and political inequities. Black In Red will offer opportunities to improve health outcomes throughout rural America.”

Black In Red focuses on increasing awareness of research science, identifying emerging trends and challenges faced by Black people as patients and providers in a wide array of rural health issues including, but not limited to HIV treatment, COVID, Influenza, Hepatitis, Lupus, and Substance Use Disorder, as well as new prevention treatment (e.g., PrEP), health literacy, and patient advocacy. 

In the inaugural episode of Black In Red, Young sits down with Jacqueline Patterson, founder and executive director of The Chisholm Legacy Project. This #BlackInRed episode covers the effects of globalization and COVID-19 on Black and Brown communities. In addition, the conversation takes a deep dive into climate change, alternatives to the coal mining industry, and the future economies of Appalachia.

The Black In Red podcast can be found on the CEG website, Podbean, Spotify, and Youtube. 

For more information please contact Caroline Chukwu, the Black In Red Producer, at

Statistics on Black Americans in Rural America

These data primarily represent Black Americans living in or within traveling distance of urban and suburban areas and still present an incomplete picture of health and wellness in Black communities.

Black Americans face higher rates of numerous infectious diseases and chronic conditions than their White peers, including rates of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Lupus, certain cancers, and rates of substance use 

In 2018, Black Americans represented 42% of all new HIV diagnoses 

Black Americans are less likely to be diagnosed with Chronic Hepatitis C than their white peers (7.7 per 100k for Black Americans vs. 36.4 for Whites), but the rate of death from Hepatitis C in Black Americans is nearly double that of Whites (6.31 per 100k for Black Americans vs. 3.35 for Whites) 

Black women are three times as likely to be diagnosed with Lupus than their White peers; it occurs at a younger age, and it is more severe 

Black Americans are significantly less likely to be diagnosed with substance use disorder than their white peers but are more likely to report substance use and are more likely to face criminal consequences for their substance use than their White peers.