While many people think of Black History Month as a time to reflect on the past achievements of Black Americans, it can also be a time to amplify the great things nonprofit organizations are doing to improve the health of Black Americans today.
The 2022 theme for Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness. In addition to recognizing the work of Black Western scholars and medical practitioners, this theme also calls attention to other means of knowing (such as the work of birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, and herbalists).
Source: Association for the Study of African American Life and History
Healthcare Access And Equity For Black Americans
CareContent is a Black woman-owned business, and we care deeply about healthcare equity for Black Americans. Even though Black Americans’ death rate has gone down by 25% since the early 2000s, they still experience more disease burden and worse outcomes for pregnancy, hypertension, and diabetes than that of white Americans.
Black Americans’ Healthcare Access And Outcomes Lag Behind
- By age 55, 75% of Black adults have hypertension compared to about 50% of white men and 40% of white women.
- Black adults are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than white adults.
- Black women are 3 times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than are white women.
Sources: American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The good news is that nonprofit and healthcare organizations are doing work to achieve healthcare access and equity while fighting bias in their content and strategy, which is important so that all groups can access the information they need to stay healthy.
Today, many organizations that promote Black health and wellness have developed mutual aid and social support initiatives to help their communities, such as building community clinics, hospitals, and medical and nursing schools. Some organizations are focused on creating diverse and inclusive healthcare content that promotes nutrition, body positivity, physical health, and mental health. Others are promoting specific initiatives, like better maternal healthcare outcomes and increased breastfeeding rates in the Black community.
Within some hospitals and traditional healthcare settings, medical practitioners are taking the lead by implementing programming to give their Black patients more healthcare access and better healthcare outcomes.
When community and healthcare organizations work together, the results can be even more impressive.
Here are 5 organizations making a positive impact on Black health and wellness.
1. National Black Leadership Commission on Health (Black Health)
Equity often begins with community leaders taking initiative. Originally focused on developing Black leadership to fight HIV/AIDS, the National Black Leadership Commission on Health (Black Health) updated its mission and name in 2019. It expanded its focus to include Hepatitis C, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, sickle cell, diabetes, and mental health.
In addition to working on making policies more equitable and organizing local communities, this organization offers many online informational handouts on diseases that affect Black Americans as well as educational programs like The Leadership Training Institute.
2. Center for Black Health
Organizations that want to provide equitable healthcare don’t always have the tools or know where to begin. The Center for Black Health has a website filled with resources to get your organization started. They work to promote policies, community-led programs, and public health campaigns that benefit people of African descent.
Community members and healthcare professionals can find a health justice training guide and links to the Black Body Health Podcast on the website. Their blog also has a wealth of information on healthcare issues affecting Black Americans.
GirlTrek is the largest nonprofit public health organization for Black women and girls in the US. They also have a podcast, Black History Bootcamp. Listeners can follow the daily meditations while they walk.
4. Black Mamas Matter Alliance
Pregnancy should be a happy and healthy time for all women. That’s why Black Mamas Matter Alliance performs advocacy for and research on Black maternal health.
They host conversations with Black maternal healthcare professionals and keep the community updated with information about local resources. They also offer a toolkit for those interested in advocating for the health and well-being of Black women and girls.
5. Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association
Breastfeeding is so important for infant health, but most infants in the US aren’t breastfed as long as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Black infants are even less likely to be breastfed than white infants.
Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association’s goal is to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding by providing breastfeeding support for Black families. They offer virtual classes, an online club, and culturally appropriate literature for Black families. Healthcare workers can become leaders for Black healthcare equity by joining the leadership institute planned for 2022.
Healthcare Access And Equity For Black Americans
These organizations are making real changes by involving local communities, educating healthcare workers, and offering resources to patients and physicians alike. Nonprofits that work within the Black community can inspire your organization to create programming for healthcare access and better healthcare outcomes for Black Americans all year long.