Race, Class and Maternity

A PHS 795 student offers insights on an interesting article published on ebony.com:

I would like to share the next article with the rest of the class: http://www.ebony.com/wellness-empowerment/black-mothers-health-matters#axzz4OAcQXgss

I think “Black maternal health matters” is a great article for this class because it problematizes what we understand as the access to health and how it is mediated by class, race and gender. As we learned in professor Jacob´s lecture on health care disparities, this article shows that the physical and legal access to health is not enough to ensure the appropriateness of health care within socially disadvantaged communities as African-American women in this country. This article discuss the importance of race as a stressor that affects maternal health, and as a barrier for black women´s access to the resources needed to sustain their and their children´ best health. What can public health practitioners do in order to achieve equity in health care? How important is a reproductive justice framework in our practice?


One thought on “Race, Class and Maternity

  1. As the field of population health sciences has been growing exponentially, it is frustrating to hear that the number of women dying during childbirth has increased in the US. It is equally frustrating to see racial disparities in maternal health remain constant. Over the years, we just keep asking ourselves why, why, why. This article gets at the original question behind population health sciences: why are some populations healthy while others are not? Reading this made me think of Andersen’s work on understanding why some people use health care services while others do not. The constant high rate of Black maternal mortality is one example demonstrating how these characteristics (class, gender, race) translate into actual use of health care services is a very complex and difficult to predict process.

    Although Andersen’s Model can be used to help conceptualize why White women utilize health care services in the South more than Black women, the author also discusses how one cause for high maternal mortality among Black women is the lack of health care access. Subsequently, we must also consider other models, such as the socioecological model of population health. Clearly, there is no simple answer or solution to this issue; it is very complex!

    Great article, thanks for sharing!


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