Black Maternal Health Week shines a light on racial disparities in OBGYN care

When it comes to healthcare, the historical data highlighting racial disparities and inequities is undeniable.

"Race does matter because it creates different outcomes for people," said Dr. Dionne Dickerson, OBGYN. "All communities suffer, there's even one maternal death but certainly, the degree to which they suffer, may be different."

Which is why during the month of April a specific focus is intentionally shined on minority health, and Black maternal health.

April 11th to 17th is ‘Black Maternal Health Week.' And while the conversation surrounding the inequities that Black mothers face is relevant every day of the year during this week, there’s an even greater emphasis on empowering and educating Black women on life before, during, and after pregnancy.

"One maternal death really is one too many for our entire community," Dickerson said.

Dr. Dionne Dickerson has been a practicing OBGYN in Southfield for over 20 years, and says there are a multitude of reasons Black mothers are dying at such a disproportionate rate.

"When we look at the people who are dying, about three times, is the number of Black women that are dying compared to white women," Dickerson said. "And so again, there you have a number that's just extremely alarming. I think we need to spend more time dissecting exactly why that number is where it's at."

Dr.Dickerson and the CDC agree, there is no one simple answer.

Lack of access to quality care, underlying chronic medical conditions, structural racism, implicit bias, and other socio-economic factors collectively contribute.

Not to mention, there remains a growing need for more physicians of color.

"I get women all the time that call the office specifically saying, 'I am pregnant, and I'm scared, I want to make sure that I have a Black doctor, because when I go into labor, I want to understand what is going on, and I want to know that I'm going to be heard, if I have a problem."

All the more reason being proactive is important. The CDC reports more than 80 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are actually preventable.

To learn more about Black Maternal Health Week go HERE.