The purpose of our initiative is threefold:
1. To unearth and understand the systemic and complex health disparities faced by Black women, illuminating barriers and catalyzing actionable solutions.
2. To foster a proactive health culture among Black women, enabling them to become self-advocates and informed agents of their own well-being within their communities.
3. To invest in and guide the emerging cohort of Black women in health professions, transforming them into advocates for equity-driven research and leaders who champion change in the broader healthcare landscape.
Addressing these needs is imperative:
1. The gap in quality healthcare access for Black women means missed opportunities for early diagnosis, preventative care, and optimal treatments, further exacerbating health disparities.
2. Black women's lived experiences and insights are invaluable. Engaging with them as community members to shape health solutions ensures interventions are relevant, culturally sensitive, and effective.
3. There is a striking underrepresentation of Black women in equity research and health leadership. By mentoring Black women in these fields, we not only amplify their voices and perspectives but also catalyze systemic change that can benefit entire communities.
The need for this initiative is clear:
Black women historically and contemporaneously face unique health challenges rooted in societal inequities and systemic biases. These disparities manifest not just in health outcomes, but in access to quality care, representation in health professions, and agency in personal health decisions.
Additionally, many nonprofits that collect and interpret data on Black women's health are directed by White men or women. While their efforts are helpful, they do not live in the disparities, inequities, and biases stemming from a legacy of chattel slavery that weather Black women through chronic and cumulative racial stress.