News Roundup | Week of January 15, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 1/19/18 6:42 PM

Serena Williams's Birth Story Highlights Black Maternal Mortality Rates

Serena Williams's birth experience has added to the growing chorus of concern and outrage over black maternal mortality rates. In a cover story for Vogue, the tennis star describes her life-threatening post-birth complications. When she started to feel short of breath after her delivery, her concerns (based on a history of pulmonary embolisms) were initially dismissed by her caregivers.

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News Roundup | Week of January 8, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 1/12/18 3:55 PM

Stress Leads to Health Disparities Among Minority and Low-Income Populations

A report from the American Psycholological Association finds that lower-income and racial minority populations suffer more stress than affluent and white populations. This greater stress leads to disparities in mental and physical health, and shortens life expectancy.  According to Elizabeth Brondolo, PhD, chair of an APA working group that wrote the report, stress is "one of the top 10 social determinants of health inequities." The report recommends interventions to help ease the impact of stress on health, including improved communication between patients and caregivers.

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News Roundup | Week of January 1, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 1/5/18 10:52 AM

Unconscious Bias Impacts Non-White Maternal Health

In the U.S., black and brown women are more likely to experience medical complications in pregnancy than white women, and their babies are more likely to die or have serious health problems. This disparity is one reason why the U.S. has such high maternal and infant mortality rates compared with other developed countries.

As recent reporting shows (see past Roundups 12/4/17 and 12/18/17), this gap is rooted in healthcare providers' unconscious biases surrounding race and ethnicity, and cannot be explained by socioeconomic differences.

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News Roundup | Week of December 18, 2017

By Megan Bedford on 12/22/17 11:56 AM

Racism May Cause the Loss of Black Infants

In the U.S., black babies die at twice the rate of white babies. According to Arthur James, an OB-GYN at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University in Columbus, the majority of black infants that die are born premature, because black mothers have a higher risk of early labor. Research has shown that this gap can't be explained by poverty, education, or genetics. Around the world, women of similar economic and genetic histories routinely give birth to healthy, full-term babies. But there's something about growing up black in America that leads African-American mothers to have babies that are comparatively smaller and less healthy.

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News Roundup | Week of December 4, 2017

By Megan Bedford on 12/8/17 3:34 PM

Black Women Are Dying In Childbirth Due to Unconscious Bias

Black women are far more likely than white women to die of childbirth-related complications—and the gap is widening. In fact, the disproportionate number of black maternal deaths in the U.S. is one of the reasons our overall maternal mortality rate is so high compared to countries with similar economies.

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