We’ve discussed disparities in black maternal health outcomes in detail. Here’s what you can do about it.
Pick a provider who gets it.
One who understands & respects that your cultural nuances inform your medical decisions.
Research shows health outcomes for black patients are better when they are treated by black doctors. This is critical given POC generally experience poorer health outcomes across a variety of diseases & conditions. These findings are attributed to improved communication between black patients & black physicians.
“Black doctors are more likely to provide a comfortable setting to black patients, perhaps because of shared experiences or backgrounds.”
– Dr. Marcella Alsan
Lead Researcher on the 2018 Stanford study examining the impact of physician diversity on medical decisions & outcomes among black men
Check the bedside mannerisms.
Choose someone who invites you to actively participate in the decision making process-presents options/opinions not mandates/directives, and asks for & respects yours in return.
As a physician, I don’t care how many books I’ve read or cases I’ve seen, I’ve not spent a single day in your shoes. Unless we have history, I’m using a 15-20 minute interaction with you to make the best informed decision I can. The bottom line is nobody knows your body like you do. Show up. Don’t be a spectator. Use your voice. Be persistent. Make you thoughts, concerns, & questions known.
Help me, Help you.
Educate yourself. Equip yourself to actively participate in your care.
Lack of education leads to loss of options. This leaves you at the mercy of what somebody tells you. And what that somebody chooses to tell you (or withholds from you) is informed by their implicit bias. Find out everything you can about your health from reliable resources. Take notes. Seek out a 2nd opinion (or even a 3rd or 4th opinion) if necessary.
Don’t be afraid to switch providers.
You have options. Find a provider who sees you, hears you, & has a plan to optimize you.