New Study Finds Black Newborns Are Three Times More Likely To Die When Cared For By White Doctors

Shot of a mother and her newborn baby at home

New Study Finds Black Newborns Are Three Times More Likely To Die When Cared For By White Doctors

Racial disparities in health care start at birth.

Published August 18th

Written by Paul Meara

A new study finds that Black newborn babies in the U.S. are more likely to survive childbirth if they are cared for by Black doctors. They are also three times more likely to die when cared for by white doctors.

Researchers from George Mason University analyzed the data that studied 1.8 million hospital births in Florida between 1992 and 2015. The study was published Monday (August 17) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also known as PNAS.

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The study found that the mortality rate of Black newborns shrunk by between 39% and 58% when Black physicians took charge of the birth, further proving the racial disparities in healthcare even at a young age. Contrastly, the mortality rate for white babies was largely unaffected by the doctor's race.

While infant mortality rates have fallen in recent decades, previous research has shown that Black children are significantly more likely to die early that their white counterparts.

The authors of the research also wrote, :"Taken with this work, it gives warrant for hospitals and other care organizations to invest in efforts to reduce such biases and explore their connection to institutional racism. Reducing racial disparities in newborn mortality will also require raising awareness among physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators about the prevalence of racial and ethnic disparities.”

Photo by AJ_Watt/Getty Images

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