A recent article highlighted the staggering disparities that persist in maternal and neonatal outcomes in America. The disparities are in part because of societal and racial bias within the health-care system. In New York, black women are four times more likely than white women to die in childbirth. Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are life-threatening pregnancy-related conditions that are sixty percent more common in African American mothers. Black women are also more likely to experience adverse health outcomes from pre-eclampsia, despite it being considered fully preventable and treatable.
Diversity in the Health Workforce
While additional barriers to reduce racial disparities in maternal care persist, promoting diversity among midwives and other frontline health workers is an important step in the right direction. When a health-care professional shares a similar background as her patient, she is more likely to provide responsive, patient-centered care, including the diagnosis of life-threatening conditions.