Researchers from George Mason University have come to the conclusion that Black newborns are more likely to survive childbirth if the doctor delivering them is also Black. However, as CNN reports, “the mortality rate for White babies were largely unaffected by the doctor’s race.”
According to the study, researchers have found that Black newborns are three times more likely than White newborns to pass away when looked after by White doctors. The findings were discovered after 1.8 million hospital births in Florida between 1992 and 2015 were analyzed by the researchers.
The study has since been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, also known as PNAS, on Monday. One of the researchers, Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH, took to Twitter to discuss her teams’ findings.
“Our primary finding: when Black newborns are cared for by Black MDs, the mortality penalty they suffer as compared with white infants is HALVED,” Hardeman wrote. “Furthermore, the more complicated the case, the effects manifest more strongly.”
Study Finds Black Newborns More Likely to Survive Birth if Cared for By Black Doctors
According to Hardeman, this study is the “first evidence that the Black-white newborn mortality gap is smaller when Black MDs provide care for Black newborns than when white MDs do, lending support to research examining the importance of racial concordance in addressing health care inequities.”
When posed with the question “why?” Why is it the Black babies are more likely to die when in the care of white doctors, Hardeman says the “reasons are complex and many.” She then pointed people to an article published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The article was a first-person account of the moment a Black family requested a Black doctor to look over their family member who had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. “Why could I establish trust that White clinicians could not? Was it just the color of my skin,” the author of the article wrote.
“I believe that in this patient, I saw someone I knew, a story I recognized. I imagined him at barbecues and in his grandmother’s living room. I saw him in my family and my community. I saw him, and his family knew that. As a biracial neurosurgeon, I’ve had diverse life experiences. I’ve seen the circumstances that can lead to all different life paths and understand that many of them involve love, good intentions, and community. This experience is what I brought to the table.”
Hardeman also asked people to “consider that Black people make up 13% of the US population but only 5% of the MD workforce.” But that this is only the beginning of an important work that needs to be done to “illuminate” the obvious racial disparity in healthcare.
As surmised by the study, it was found the mortality rate of Black infants in that hospital decreased by between 39 and 58-percent when Black doctors took charge of the birth. “The time is NOW to change this and to ensure that Black infants are afforded the opportunity to thrive,” Hardeman concluded her Twitter thread.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.