Two Women Entrepreneurs Offer More Choices for Health Care

Iesha Austin and Krystal Jones-Shephard

The Truth Staff

Iesha Austin and Krystal Jones-Shephard have opened new health care businesses on Eastgate Road in order to provide a wide range of services for the Black underserved population of the Toledo area.

Austin’s Salubrious WellCare provides psychiatric services to those “who are struggling with mental health issues or those transitioning from drugs and alcohol,” said Austin. “I am the youngest to open a psychiatric clinic,” said the then 30-year old nurse practitioner, who holds a degree in healthcare management.

“I’m trying to bring more awareness and care to the African American community who seem to struggle in that area because of the stigma … a lot of us are scared to go see primary care … because of things we heard growing up in our culture.”

Jones-Shephard’s Shephard’s Geriatric Care is sharing the space with Salubrious WellCare at 1850 Eastgate Road, Suite B.

“I hear a lot of ‘I don’t trust my provider because they don’t look like me,’” said Jones-Shephard, who has 15 years of experience as a registered nurse. “The motivating factor was to be a provider that looks like the population I want to serve.”

The mistrust of the healthcare system is in great part due to the fact that the medical establishment has a long history of mistreating Black Americans — from gruesome experiments on enslaved people to the forced sterilizations of Black women and the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study that withheld treatment from hundreds of Black men for decades to let doctors track the course of the disease.

Even today, studies have found Black Americans are consistently undertreated for pain relative to white patients; one study revealed half of medical students and residents held one or more false beliefs about supposed biological differences between Black and white patients, such as Black patients have higher pain tolerance than white ones (The Commonwealth Fund)

“My goal is for people to come into the office and feel safer and for me to go into people’s homes and be respectful and provide care,” said Jones-Shephard.