Promoting Health Equity: Overcoming Implicit Bias in Public Health

May 24, 2023 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

May is Maternal Mental Health Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the intersectionality of motherhood and mental health. It serves as a reminder that behind the joy and anticipation of becoming a mother, there may also be hidden struggles and challenges that need to be acknowledged and addressed, like access to quality care, particularly for Black women.

Women of color frequently encounter healthcare providers who hold unconscious biases that impact the quality of care they receive. These biases can lead to misdiagnoses, inadequate pain management, dismissive attitudes, and a lack of culturally sensitive care. Such experiences jeopardize the physical health of women of color and erode their trust in the healthcare system.

In a recent report released by the CDC, 89% more women died from pregnancy-related issues in 2021 than in 2018. Black women are nearly 3 times more likely to die than White women and 2.5 times more likely than Hispanic women. The majority of these deaths were preventable.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Denise Evans, Principal, CEO & Founder of Consult Me, and Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Corewell Health, discusses the impact of implicit bias on Black maternal health and how to advance health equity in public health.

Meet Our Guest:

Denise Evans is a trained facilitator, public health educator, and Truth Racial Healing Transformation practitioner. She has specialized training in health equity and social justice, cultural intelligence, and unconscious/implicit bias, as well as technologies of participation facilitation. Denise serves as a content expert for the National Healthy Start Association and the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality and served the National Association of County & City Health Officials and state and local health departments on issues of equity, justice, bias, diversity, belonging and inclusion.

For the past 25 years, she has worked diligently to connect community organizers, faith-based organizations and public health professionals from New York City to Los Angeles in a collective effort to disrupt systems of oppression and build a more equitable future for those living in our nation’s most vulnerable communities. Ms. Evans is a two-time past chair of Spectrum Health’s (now Corewell Health) System Inclusion Council and a founding member of the Greater Grand Rapids Racial Equity Network.