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It's Not Race, It's Racism

Racism, past and present, affect birth outcomes by having an effect on birthing families throughout their lives. Some examples of racial inequity that leads to poor health outcomes are:

  • Racist housing covenants leading to poor housing and neighborhood conditions that persist today

  • Inability to accumulate wealth for generations due to slavery, segregation, and codified oppression

  • Systemic racism, including miscarriages of justice, inequitable banking policies, housing and employment discrimination, and educational segregation

  • Poor treatment and bias affecting quality of health care and education

  • Interpersonal racism, either overt or covert

  • Internalized racism and harboring negative beliefs about own racial group

Racism changes bodies, minds, and even genes.


Since 2013, BHB has convened a workgroup to build a common framework, language, and agenda for undoing racism and achieving health equity. The workgroup aims to:

  • Make community voice central to planning and mobilization

  • Use data to make injustice visible

  • Welcome challenges to privilege and oppression

  • Root out racist and discriminatory practices in our programs and workplaces and replace them with equitable ones

  • Look first to partner on new funding with community-based organizations instead of larger institutions


BHB staff commit to anti-racist principles and participate in ongoing training and activities to learn how to dismantle racism and discrimination. During 2016-2018, 235 people from 64 agencies participated in Undoing Racism Workshops led by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. BHB has a clear call to action: to address inequities in our systems and services that contribute to health disparities through an anti-racist lens


Coming Soon: An exploration of historical oppression in Baltimore City and how this has lead to disparities in maternal and infant health.

Read more about Maternal and Infant Mortality Disparities

The Nation: What’s Killing America’s Black Infants
The New York Times: Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis
NPR: Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why
ProPublica: Black Women Disproportionately Suffer Complications of Pregnancy and Childbirth. Let’s Talk About It.

Anti-Racist and Implicit Bias Trainings and Resources for Health Practitioners

March of Dimes Implicit Bias Training
University of California, San Francisco Unconscious Bias Trainings and Resources
American Academy of Family Physicians Implicit Bias Curriculum
The Kirwan Institute Implicit Bias Training
Maryland HB 837 (going into effect on July 1, 2020) mandating evidence-based implicit bias training for all perinatal health care workers
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