As we observe Women’s History Month, The Center for Black Health & Equity celebrates the many past contributions of Black women in improving the health and wellness outcomes for our communities. These contributions were not always in recognized halls of medicine or academia. Many times, they were in kitchens and sick rooms, and they were in defiance of the systems in place to keep Black communities unwell. We also embrace the intersectionality of womanhood and support the experiences of all Black women in this fight for health equity.
Currently, Black women remain at greater risk for most health disparities, including heart disease, the leading cause of death among women, with more than half of Black women affected, according to the American Heart Association. Genetic and other factors that lead to greater instances of hypertension contribute to higher heart-related mortality rates among Black women.
Many Black women don’t even recognize the signs of a stroke which can include symptoms such as dizziness, weakness in the extremities, confusion, and severe headaches. Unfortunately, for a population of people who generally experience major life stress events more frequently than other groups, these warning signs can easily be interpreted as the symptoms of a Black woman’s everyday stress.
Additionally, mental health outcomes shaped by experiences with systemic racism contribute to disparities in Black women’s overall health and wellbeing. Depression and anxiety are underdiagnosed and undertreated for Black women and Black women are nearly twice as likely to experience postpartum depression.
As we celebrate the history of women’s contributions during this month, The Center continues to advocate for a present and future where Black women have optimal health outcomes, and we support Black women in prioritizing the care of themselves.