Listening to Black Women

In an article published by the Wisconsin Medical Journal, Lisa Peyton-Caire, MSEd and Alia Stevenson, MS Report the stark realities informing their months-long listening project, organized in partnership with Cortico:

Black women’s health is in a state of emergency in Wisconsin. The efforts of Black women-led movements have brought growing attention to the harsh realities of our nation’s deepest and most persistent health disparities, among them, the startling differences in birth outcomes between Black women and White women. Nowhere is this issue more pressing and relevant than in the state of Wisconsin, which carries the unfortunate designation as first in the nation for Black infant mortality, and where Black women are 5 times more likely than their White peers to die in childbirth or of pregnancy-related complications. Presently, babies born to Black mothers in Wisconsin are 3 times more likely than White babies to be born prematurely, placing them at increased risk of significant health and developmental challenges and of dying within the first year of life. This alarming public health crisis is mirrored in Dane County, the seat of the state’s capital, where Black babies are 2 times more likely than White babies to be born too soon and too small and to die before their 1st birthday.

Their article, titled Listening to Black Women: The Critical Step to Eliminating Wisconsin’s Black Birth Disparities is the first to use Cortico conversation data for publication in a medical journal. Titled, “Listening to Black Women: The Critical Step to Eliminating Wisconsin’s Black Birth Disparities,” it maps health disparity statistics against themes and solutions articulated by black women themselves. 

The authors conclude that healthcare access is not the problem: the problem is what happens when doctors discount and disregard what Black women tell them. As expressed by one participant quoted in the study:

“I also think there’s this misconception that in Wisconsin the reason why the infant mortality and maternal mortality rates are high is because something about lack of health care. It’s not about the lack of health care. We all have access to health care. It’s just when we go to the health care providers, we’re not listened to.” – AK

Conversations were organized by the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, an organization devoted to “mobilizing and empowering the well black woman” while conducting research and political advocacy aimed at eliminating egregious disparities in healthcare outcomes for black women in Wisconsin and beyond.

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Cortico is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization led by a multidisciplinary team of experts in community engagement, technology and non-profit management. We strive to meld two elements not typically found in one space: technological innovation and community-centered advocacy. We'd love to keep you up to date on what we're doing!