Black women health statistics: Coverage of maternal health threats overlooks black expertise

World health organization breastfeeding recommendation

In their haste to cover an urgent health crisis, reporters risk perpetuating another racial disparity: a dearth of black experts in maternal health stories. Black experts—be they midwives, nonprofit staff, sociologists, or public-health researchers—often have relevant lived experience or have cultivated deeper relationships with black patients and communities. The factors that underpin this lack of black expertise in stories are complex. Some, such as competing definitions of “expertise” and barriers that constrain numbers of black advanced-degree holders, are specific to an expert’s field. Others—deadline pressures, the challenges of reporting on technical material, unconscious bias—implicate news outlets.

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