For Immediate Release
April 13, 2022
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Angela Maria Naso,
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Podcast Explores Racism as a Public Health Crisis
theServiceStation’ discusses ways to improve health outcomes for Black communities
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.— A longtime nurse and maternal health leader discusses in a podcast released this week the impact of racism on healthcare for Black newborns and mothers and how professionals are working together to improve outcomes.
“Care starts the minute a patient walks through the door. It’s important the person feels they are treated with dignity,” says Stephanie Bryant on the “theServiceStation,” a podcast produced by the Department of Public Social Services.
Bryant is the branch chief of Maternal Child and Adolescent Health at Riverside University Health System (RUHS) – Public Health. Bryant says data shows Black women in Riverside County are nearly four times as likely to have pregnancy complications compared to other ethnicities, and Black babies are twice as likely to die in the first year of life.
RUHS Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari cited similar data to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in August 2020 when the board declared racism a public health crisis.
“There are so many examples where African Americans in particular, but certainly communities of color are disproportionately impacted when we look at health outcomes,” Saruwatari said..
Nearly 7 percent of Riverside County’s 2.5 million residents are Black. On theServiceStation, Bryant says countywide programs, such as the Black Infant Health Program, and partnerships are helping to provide families comprehensive services that improve health outcomes.
“We have an opportunity to wrap resources around these families. When we do that, we can reduce some of these disparities,” Bryant says.
Riverside County’s Black Infant Health program is one helpful resource. It empowers expecting black mothers with stress management techniques and connections with women of color in their community. Learn more about the program in the latest episode of “theServiceStation,” available for download on all major podcast platforms and RivCoDPSS.org.
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