This year, I was fortunate to sit down with some of public health’s most influential advocates — people like Rae Lewis-Thornton, who rallies for HIV prevention in the Black community, and attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the victims of racist hate crimes.
I’ve learned a lot from them about the state of health among African-Americans: We continue to be disproportionately impacted by diseases and conditions like COVID-19, HIV, stroke, breast cancer, suicide, and Alzheimer’s.
It’s true, we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve come a long way too.
So many of our neighborhoods lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but Black farmers are supplying organic foods to low-income communities for free.
Black birthing people and babies are still dying at high rates in hospitals, but birth workers are opening birth centers that offer wrap-around reproductive care.
The list of folks creating solutions to health inequities could go on and on — here are 10 of the most pressing issues I reported on in 2022 and the folks who are working to solve them.
Those tiny machines physicians clip on patients’ fingers to check their oxygen levels? They don’t always work on dark-skinned people. And even worse, researchers say this contributed to poor COVID-19 outcomes in Black and Hispanic communities.
Menthol cigarettes are known to be more addictive than non-flavored cigarettes — and they’re smoked heavily in the Black community. But that could change if the Food and Drug Administration bans menthol in tobacco products for good.
Black birthing people and babies are dying at high rates in hospitals. That’s why birth workers like Chicago-based midwife Jeanine Valrie Logan and doula Shaquan Dupart are opening birth centers around the country.
It looks like the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) is the real Wakanda. According to Dr. Andre Perry’s Black Progress Index, Black folks in the U.S. live longer there than in other places.
Word on the street is that chemical hair straighteners, also known as “relaxers,” may cause uterine cancer. The disease can ruin a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. That’s exactly what happened to Jenny Mitchell, who’s suing manufacturers that make the products she used since childhood.
Rollin’ CLT is North Carolina’s first outdoor skating rink — and it’s Black woman-owned. Amid rink closures around the nation, Rollin’ CLT is making way for folks from all walks of life to experience the many health benefits roller skating offers, including anxiety relief.
Food deserts didn’t happen by accident. They’re a product of racist redlining practices that left Black and low-income neighborhoods without resources. So, Black farmers like Bobby Wilson of the Metro Atlanta Urban Farm are standing in the gap by giving out fresh foods to local residents.
Pharmaceutical companies have made millions off the late Henrietta Lacks’ stolen cells, and her family hasn’t seen a dime. But that could all change if the Lacks family wins a lawsuit against one of the companies. This is what Henrietta’s grandson, Ron Lacks, and the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, have to say about the case.
Black mothers are nine times more likely than white mothers to be given formula in the hospital. Sterling Grey-Simmons was among those women. She didn’t get the help she needed from medical staff after her baby was born, so she became a certified breastfeeding specialist to support nursing moms.
Black folks make up 13% of the American population but account for 39% of people experiencing homelessness. Research shows that living without a home can cause low self-esteem, among other health challenges. That’s why Shirley Raines, founder of Beauty 2 The Streetz, offers beauty supplies and services to LA’s unhoused community for free.
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