America Needs More Black Providers
Being Black in America is hard, but giving birth while Black in America is downright deadly. The United States of America is one of the richest countries on the planet and has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality..how does that happen? For a country that attracts talent from all over the world, there seems to be a disconnect in the intelligence and the results. Black birthing people in American are three to four times more likely to die due to a pregnancy-related complication than white birthers, and if you are in NYC—that increases your risk even more.
What Needs to Change?
Well, that’s a 7 layer dip plus some, but a great place to start is increasing access to Black and brown doctors for Black and brown patients. This does not mean that Black and brown people should only be seen by Black and brown doctors, but that they have that as an option if they would like. Because, as it stands now, many Black and brown people in the US do not have that option, even if they wanted. Access to care has been a long standing problem in our country. There are a few new apps that are revolutionizing the way that patients can find care providers that are skilled in culturally competent and sensitive care.
Black MD Cares - On their website, they state “ Eliminate healthcare disparities by connecting patients with physicians and other healthcare providers that will listen to their patients and care for them at the highest quality regardless of race and ethnicity.” They stated that providers are screened, but did not define what that screening process entailed. You can sign up for free here or download the app in the App Store! https://blackmdcares.com/providers
Health in Her Hue App - As described on their website, they are “a digital platform connecting Black women to culturally competent healthcare providers, telehealth services, and health content.” Black and brown women have a higher mortality than that of any other race. In America, a large majority of this is due to systemic racism. You can read more about that here. This app is on the forefront of combatting the lack of access to culturally competent providers! You can download the app in the App Store!
HUED App - “Diversifying the patient-physician experience” is the first thing you see on their website and I dig it! It’s powerful and calming. You can search for providers by state, insurance coverage, specialty, and in-person/virtual. They are devoted to changing healthcare delivery for Black and Latino patients by 2025! You can read, “Access to (quality) healthcare remains a prevailing problem for people of color. In fact, African Americans and Latinos experience 30 to 40% poorer health outcomes than White Americans,” on their website making their mission very clear. This app is so needed and will change the landscape of care in America!
Irth App - Their tagline is “Birth, but we dropped the b for bias.” This is a platform to find prenatal, birth, postpartum and pediatric care providers and reviews! This is key to decreasing the infant mortality rate in Black babies. On their website, Irth shares that it is “The #1 “Yelp-like” platform for the pregnancy and new motherhood journey, made by and for people of color.“ This is a crucial step in helping decrease the disparities in the current birth culture.
Ayana App - This app is geared toward connected people of color with mental health professionals of color and culturally competent care. I just recently started counseling with Better Help and it has been life changing. It was so easy to sign up which I had seen them advertise about, but was skeptical at the actual simplicity of it all. But it’s true. It was literally as easy as ordering something online. I answered a series of questions and had a chance to write a brief intro/what I was looking for, if I wanted, which I happily obliged. You should know I am not new to the idea of therapy. I have gone to therapy several times in my life. I know very well the benefits of mental health support. The general anxiety of life is a lot, but the general anxiety of life in a Black or brown body is so much harder and the mental health care accessible should reflect that.
How about the bigger picture? Longer term?
Great question! There is a piece of legislation called The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 that will hopefully begin to close the gaps we currently see in healthcare. It won’t be the final fix we need, but its a wonderful place to begin rebuilding this very, very broken medical care system of ours. So what do you need to know about the Momnibus Act?
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) have created a caucus to combat the harrowing stats facing our birthers of color. Lauren Underwood is a Registered Nurse and knows more than anyone how devastating it can be to birth while Black in the US.
This Momnibus collects 9 original bills, adds 3 additional bills, and proposes 12 accumulative ways that congressional leadership can help protect pregnant women and new moms, specifically people of color. It also promotes continuous coverage for 12-months postpartum by medicaid.
Here are the things they are committing to:
- - Make critical investments in social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes, like housing, transportation, and nutrition.
- - Provide funding to community-based organizations that are working to improve maternal health outcomes and promote equity.
- - Comprehensively study the unique maternal health risks facing pregnant and postpartum veterans and support VA maternity care coordination programs.
- - Grow and diversify the perinatal workforce to ensure that every mom in America receives culturally congruent maternity care and support.
- - Improve data collection processes and quality measures to better understand the causes of the maternal health crisis in the United States and inform solutions to address it.
- - Support moms with maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
- - Improve maternal health care and support for incarcerated moms.
- - Invest in digital tools like telehealth to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved areas.
- - Promote innovative payment models to incentivize high-quality maternity care and non-clinical perinatal support.
- - Invest in federal programs to address the unique risks for and effects of COVID-19 during and after pregnancy and to advance respectful maternity care in future public health emergencies.
- - Invest in community-based initiatives to reduce levels of and exposure to climate change-related risks for moms and babies.
- - Promote maternal vaccinations to protect the health and safety of moms and babies.
Ready to take action?
The Momnibus Act website has a few actionable steps you can take to get involved and help push this forward!
- Reach out to your Members of Congress in the House of Representatives and the Senate to voice your support for this piece of legislation. Ask them support it and inquire about their plans to help close the disparities currently crippling women’s health. You can look up your Representative in the in the U.S. House of Representatives here and you can find information about your Senators here.
- Share posts like this on social media! Help your friends and family know what’s goings on in our healthcare. Momnibus provides a few templates for you, you can find those here.
- Connect with community-based organizations who are making local change and donate to organizations that are leading the fight nationally. You can find the organizations that we support here.
- Follow Black Maternal Health Caucus on social media to stay up to date on the latest news surrounding The Momnibus Act of 2021.