March is Women’s History Month, and in turn, it can be a valuable time to look into groups of women who face a disproportionate amount of discrimination. With this in mind, Keystone Shops is proud to feature The Black Women’s Health Alliance as our March Keystone Kares.
Based out of Philadelphia, The Black Women’s Health Alliance’s (PBWHA) mission is to “improve healthcare outcomes and reduce health disparities for African American and other minority women and their families through advocacy, education, research, and support services.” If you are wondering what these “healthcare outcomes” and “health disparities” are referring too, there are a staggering number of ways that African American and minority women face discrimination in healthcare.
One area where this is prevalent is in maternity health. Statistically speaking, black women are 3-4 times more likely to experience pregnancy-related death than white women. On that note, black women face worse birth outcomes than white women, as African American infants are 2.4 times more likely to die in their first year of life than white infants. Also, the breast cancer mortality rate for black women between the ages of 45-60 is 60% higher than for white women of that same age demographic. Generally speaking, women’s pain is less thoroughly investigated than men’s in medical settings, as it is often brushed off as being menstrual cramps (which shouldn’t be brushed off; anyone who gets their period can tell you how hellish they can be), or an over-exaggeration or hysteria. This is even more prevalent for black women as they are also often assumed to be seeking opioids or other drugs, and are dismissed without receiving suitable if any, healthcare.
These numbers are generally attributed to things that black women face more often like the lack of access to affordable health care, being more likely to have to live in food droughts, and more likely to face socio-economic difficulties and discrimination. What this all ties back to though, is racial discrimination, and PBWHA aims to combat it so that black and other minority women can receive the healthcare they need.
PBWHA offers a number of services to help black and other minority women in healthcare. Programs include facilitated and competent support groups, workshops in effective caregiving, peer-mediation programs, prevention programs, and more. They also use community outreach to try and make a change for black and other minority women’s healthcare at the local, state, and federal levels.
Throughout the month of March, Keystone Shops will have our donation jars out for the PBWHA, and we encourage patients to donate what they can.
To learn more about The Black Women’s Health Alliance, visit www.pbwha.org.