NewsHealth / June 13, 2020

Systemic Racism Is Cradle To Grave Health Issue For Black Americans

Article origination WFYI-FM

Systemic racism has a huge impact on the health of African-Americans in the U.S. It's literally a problem from cradle to grave, affecting everything from infant mortality to life expectancy. And now, COVID-19 is taking a disproportionate toll on the community. Here's a sampling of Side Effects stories highlighting the health care divide — and potential solutions.

How Racism, Health Disparities Harm Black Americans. Systemic racism's 'many layers of inequity' are a life-or-death matter, and across the U.S., blacks have shorter life spans than whites. Health experts explain why.

Pregnant Woman Worries About COVID-19 As Cases Increase. Arianna Thompson had the typical conerns of any new mom as she approached her due date. But there were added worries due to the coronavirus crisis, and data showing that black women face higher death rates in childbirth.

Why Is COVID-19 Hitting African-Americans So Hard? African-Americans make up a disproportionate share of deaths from the disease, but that pattern took a while to emerge because states were slow to gather information on the racial characteristics of victims.

New COVID-19 Testing Takes Aim At African-American Disparities. Marion County, which covers metro Indianapolis, set up free test sites in some African-Amercan neighborhoods to address health disparities.

Where Do We Go From Here: A Community Conversation. As cities are rocked by street protests, community leaders discuss potential solutions to deeply rooted problems, including healthcare disparities. 

Giving Birth In Indiana Can Be Dangerous. It's Worse If You're Black. Indiana has one of the nation’s worst rates of mothers dying while pregnant. And that rate is even worse for black women.

For Black Women, Access To Birth Control Comes With Heavy Baggage. Dr. Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds  discusses systemic racism, reproductive justice — and how contraception fits into those issues.

Happier Birth Days: A Conversation. On this television special, doctors, a nurse and a doula discuss ways to make the birthing process safer for black women.

How Racism, Trauma And Mental Health Are Linked. Shardé Smith, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talks about the role that race-related stress and trauma has on entire families, and what strategies people use to cope.

This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.

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