Did health problems prevent many Gulf Shore residents from evacuating? Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, thinks so. “We really saw a manifestation of the health care disparity in this country,” says Satcher, who also wonders how many evacuees have been able to get their prescriptions refilled and receive proper treatment.

Minority health care providers and historically black institutions have responded by providing front-line care. Satcher now heads the National Center for Primary Care (NCPC) at Morehouse Medical School in Atlanta, which is working with the federal government to connect evacuees with physicians.

African-American doctors from the storm area may also need assistance. Many may have a tougher time restarting their practices because they’ve made less money serving poorer communities. “I hope the federal government will help these doctors get back to serving the people who rely on them,” Dr. Satcher says.

To contact the NCPC, call 404.756.5740 or visit www.msm.edu/ ncpc/ncpc.htm