I’ve been at a loss for words with regards to how I wanted to address a blog post on racial equality as it pertains to my professional career.  There is national data on obstetrical and gynecological outcomes that show racial disparities.  Then there is what I can do on the micro-level of my practice or even the care I provider as an individual.  I want to explore both of those to shed some light on where I can improve. 

Data shows disparities in OBGYN care for Black women with poorer outcomes for infertility, unintended pregnancy, preterm birth, fetal death, maternal death, breast cancer deaths, and cervical cancer to name a few.  There is data to show that amongst many factors, these outcome differences can be traced down to the level of the practitioner.  And in my opinion, in my little world at KMOBGYN, this is the most important thing to recognize.  Even though I truly believe I provide equal care to all, I need to acknowledge that these disparities exist and do my part to consciously acknowledge the issue. If I determine that I or one of my colleagues is perpetuating this inequality, then I need to call them (or myself) out on it.  Black women need to know they can trust their doctors and not fear them. 

On the level of Kamm McKenzie as a practice, we need to continue to hire Black clinical and office staff and encourage their growth and ascent within the company. We need to commit to hire Black providers.

All of us as OBGYN providers look for guidance and leadership from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOG).  In April, about 6 weeks before the murder of George Floyd, ACOG partnered with Black Mamas Matter Alliance to advocate for effective policies, and solutions to eliminate racism, bias, and inequities in maternal care.  I want to share a statement from this virtual conference.

“ACOG recognizes that in order to improve maternal health outcomes for Black women, we must change how care is delivered by ensuring that the methods used to address implicit bias and racism align with Black women’s needs, values, and preferences and address the ways in which health care systems perpetuate inequality…It is incumbent upon us to combat racism, racial bias, and achieve inclusiveness in our own professional settings, institutions, committees, councils, and leadership.  We are firmly committed to doing so through concrete action and honest examination of our own practices and biases.”

I pledge, along with my partners, to join ACOG in this endeavor as it pertains to us and our practice.