The Contrast of Color: Why the Black Community Continues to Suffer Health Disparities : Obstetrics & Gynecology

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Contents: Current Commentary

The Contrast of Color

Why the Black Community Continues to Suffer Health Disparities

Gillispie-Bell, Veronica MD, MAS

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Obstetrics & Gynecology 137(2):p 220-224, February 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004226

The evidence of racial health disparities is profound. Much attention has been given to the disparity in maternal morbidity and mortality experienced by Black mothers. The disparity in Black lives lost from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has further highlighted the disparity in health outcomes for Black people. Although COVID-19 is a new disease, the reason for the health disparity is the same as in maternal morbidity and mortality: implicit bias and structural racism. Implicit bias among health care professionals leads to disparities in how health care is delivered. Generations of structural racism perpetuated through racial residential segregation, economic suppression, and health care inequality have normalized the poorer health outcomes for Black Americans. It is easy to dismiss these issues as someone else's problem, because health care professionals often fail to acknowledge the effect of implicit bias in their own practices. We all need to be highly critical of our own practices and look introspectively for implicit bias to find the cure. Health care organizations must invest time and resources into investigating the structural racism that exists within our own walls.

© 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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