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Minneapolis ( KROC AM News) - A recent study led by Minnesota researchers found Black newborns have a better chance at survival if cared for by Black doctors.

The University of Minnesota study included 1.8-million hospital births in Florida between 1992 and 2015.  Records show Black newborns die at three times the rate of white newborns.

  • According to the study:
  • when Black newborns are cared for by Black physicians as opposed to white physicians, their in-hospital death rate is a third lower
  • these effects manifest more strongly in more complicated cases and when hospitals deliver more Black newborns
  • the size of this mortality rate reduction would correspond to preventing the in-hospital deaths of about 1,400 Black newborns nationally each year

“Our findings demonstrate that when newborns and the physicians treating them are of the same race, that newborn survival rate is significantly improved,” said study co-author Rachel Hardeman. “This study is the first piece of evidence that demonstrates the effect of physician-patient racial concordance on the Black-white mortality gap. As we seek to close persistent racial gaps in birth outcomes, this finding is incredibly important.”

Study co-author Aaron Sojourner adds, "This fact that Black newborns do so much better under the care of Black physicians warrants greater investigation by researchers and medical practitioners into drivers of differences between higher- and lower-performing physicians, and why Black physicians systemically outperform their colleagues when caring for Black newborns."

The university says “Given the persistent inequities in clinical care outcomes experienced by Black people, study authors say future research on this topic would serve to advance efforts to address racism in health care delivery and create a more diverse health care workforce.”


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