A paradigm shift to address racial inequities in perinatal healthcare

EleVATE Women Collaborative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Health inequities are not caused by personal failings or shortcomings within disadvantaged groups, which can be erased with behavioral interventions. The scope of the problem is much greater and will only fully be addressed with the examination of the systems, structures, and policies that perpetuate racism, classism, and an economic, class, race, or gender divide between patients and the people who care for them. Solution-oriented strategies to achieve health equity will remain elusive if researchers continue to focus on behavior modification in patients while failing to do harder work that includes focusing on the institutions, community, and societal contexts in which pregnant women are living; addressing social determinants of health; considering racism in study design, analysis, and reporting; valuing the voices of patients, practitioners, and researchers from historically disadvantaged groups; disseminating research findings back to the community; and developing policy and reimbursement structures to support care delivery change that advances equitable outcomes. A case study shows us how group prenatal care may be one viable vehicle through which to affect this change. Group prenatal care is one of the few interventions shown to improve pregnancy outcomes for black women. Studies of group prenatal care have predominantly focused on the patient, but here we propose that the intervention may exert its greatest impact on clinicians and the systems in which they work. The underlying mechanism through which group prenatal care works may be through increased quantity and quality of patient and practitioner time together and communication. We hypothesize that this, in turn, fosters greater opportunity for cross-cultural exposure and decreases clinician implicit bias, explicit bias, and racism, thus increasing the likelihood that practitioners advocate for systems-level changes that directly benefit patients and improve perinatal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-361
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Volume224
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • centering pregnancy
  • group prenatal care
  • health equity
  • racism

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