BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Black preterm infants are more likely to die than White preterm infants within the same NICU. Racism may lead to disparate quality of NICU care contributing to disparities in preterm infant health outcomes. The objective of our study was to understand Black mothers’ perspectives of the impact of racism on the quality of care for Black preterm infants in the NICU and what might be done to address it. METHODS: Using qualitative research methods, we conducted in-depth, semistructured interviews with 20 Black mothers of preterm infants in a single Level IV NICU 6 to 18 months after hospital discharge regarding experiences with disparate quality of NICU care. We developed themes iteratively and conducted interviews until thematic saturation was reached. RESULTS: The majority of mothers believed that racism impacted the quality of NICU care and described examples of racism in the NICU at structural, institutional, and interpersonal levels. Mothers also provided ideas for interventions that would decrease racism and improve quality of NICU care for Black families, including increased Black representation, increased peer support, and improved staff education and training. CONCLUSIONS: Black mothers of preterm infants experienced racism during NICU hospitalization that impacted the quality of care they received. Interventional studies directed toward mitigating these racial disparities may focus on addressing racism during the NICU period and should include input from Black stakeholders at all stages of design, implementation, and analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022056971
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


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