Health News Roundup

Black babies are more likely to survive during childbirth when cared for by Black doctors, and more in this week’s roundup

Black babies are more likely to survive when cared for by Black doctors, study finds
N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA Today, August 19
Black newborns are more likely to survive during childbirth when cared for by Black doctors, according to a new study. In the United States, Black babies die at three times the rate of white newborns during their initial hospital stays, according to a peer-reviewed study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But when Black doctors cared for Black babies, their mortality rate was cut in half.

Black diabetics lose limbs at triple the rate of others. Here’s how health care leaders are starting to act.
Lizzie Presser, ProPublica, August 27
The American Diabetes Association is creating an initiative to fight unnecessary amputations, which disproportionately affect Black diabetics. Congress, doctors and the public are finally taking notice, too. The ADA’s Health Equity Now campaign, which addresses the cost of diabetes care, nutrition, discrimination and more, was motivated by the racial health disparities that have been exposed by COVID-19, which has hit Black Americans with diabetes particularly hard. As part of the project, the association has built a Health Equity Bill of Rights, asserting that all diabetes patients are entitled to affordable drugs, healthy food, the latest medical advances and other protections.

How microaggressions in health care hurt minorities
Kasra Zarei, The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25
A growing body of research indicates that microaggressions can seriously harm patient care by making important communication impossible and turning people off entirely from getting medical care. Patients of color report feeling marginalized in a variety of ways. Institutions throughout society are starting to better recognize the harms of systemic racism, and the need to invest in addressing the root causes. These can be as large as unemployment and food insecurity, and as subtle as the unconscious biases that persist in the majority culture among people who still don’t understand how they might be perpetuating harmful attitudes.

Diagnosis timeline drags for Black autistic children
Laura Dattaro, Spectrum News, August 24
Delays in autism diagnosis may contribute to the high rate of intellectual disability among Black autistic children in the United States, according to a new study. Black children with intellectual disability receive an autism diagnosis an average of six months later than comparable white children.

Making anti-racism a core value in academic medicine
J. Nwando Olayiwola, Joshua J. Joseph, Autumn R. Glover, Harold L. Paz, Darrell M. Gray, II, Health Affairs Blog, August 25
As has been increasingly acknowledged, our nation is simultaneously experiencing two pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to devastating effects on communities of color impacted by disproportionately higher rates of disease, hospitalization, and death. The pandemic of racial injustice, a longstanding, persistent pandemic receiving more attention now due to high-profile cases of police and citizen brutality against Black people, is provoking the kind of outrage that creates space to elevate anti-racist platforms. For health care institutions and educators to effectively respond to both pandemics and their systematic causes, an anti-racism foundation is necessary, and anti-racism must become a core value.