NNLM Reading Club: Racism and Health

NNLM Reading Club: Racism and Health


Racism and Health
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Racism and Health

America’s long, frequently uncomfortable conversation about racism and social justice continues, with both new and familiar voices speaking up. Health is very much a subtopic that needs to be considered in that discourse. Health depends on social factors, whether they are the condition of one’s neighborhood, the accessibility of good nutrition, or the education necessary to make informed choices about wellness. These things are not impervious to racism. Racism can reduce the length of lives or stop them before they start. It is indeed a public health crisis.

To be committed to equity in health, one must address racism’s impact on it. Bring your book-discussion group into one of the central conversations impacting our nation as the NNLM Reading Club focuses on Racism and Health. We encourage you to use these books to start a conversation or keep an existing one going. All voices are not always heard in such conversations. We urge you to listen, think critically about what you can do to alleviate the effect racism has on health equity, and act for social justice.

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Health Equity

The primary NIH organization for research on Health Disparities is the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. NIMHD has recently launched a new section on its website that highlights recent research findings on minority health and health disparities by its grantees. Visit the Research Spotlights section for a quick glance at research that spans diverse topics affecting health disparity populations, such as maternal health and sexual and gender minority (SGM) mental health.

CDC Health Equity Infographic


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Resources

Use MedlinePlus, a free source of trustworthy and evidence-based health information from the National Library of Medicine, to further your understanding and locate resources about Health Disparities.

Race, Racism, and Health is a collection of research and perspectives on the effects of race and racism on health in the United States compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, they have supported research and programs targeting some of America’s most pressing health issues.

Fact Sheet: Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity by Sofia Carratala and Connor Maxwell, Center for American Progress, May 7, 2020

Race, Medicine, and Health in America is a Higher Education Module developed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). It is designed to instruct intersecting narratives of race, environment, and health through the use of selected case studies: including lead poisoning, asthma, the Environmental Injustice Movement, the 1995 Chicago Heat Wave, and Hurricane Katrina. It is divided into six class modules with reading resources and discussion questions.

Black Maternal Health
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Black Maternal Health

Black Maternal Health Week is recognized in April each year. But one week isn't enough. Throughout the year, libraries can raise awareness.

I Know My Body

Minority Health

The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) has recently launched Research Spotlights that highlight recent research findings diverse topics affecting health disparity populations, such as maternal health and sexual and gender minority (SGM) mental health.

Race, Racism, and Health is a collection of research and perspectives on the effects of race and racism on health in the United States compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health.

Fact Sheet: Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity by Sofia Carratala and Connor Maxwell, Center for American Progress, May 7, 2020

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Start the conversation

Book cover images for Battling Over Birth, Motherhood So White, and We Live for the We

First-time mother Dani McClain sets out to understand how to raise her daughter in what she knows to be an unjust and even hostile society in We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black MotherhoodNefertiti Austin recounts adoption for a single African-American woman in Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America. Finally, researchers and doulas from an organization known as Black Women Birthing Justice bring together the birth experiences of more than 100 California women to make recommendations for improving care in Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis.

There's an NIH for that... and more

Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) is the leading National Institutes of Health for women's health research. To learn about steps toward a healthy pregnancy, use its Maternal Morbidity, and Mortality web portal as well as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD)and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) websites.

Message from the Director

Dr claytonBy Janine A. Clayton, MD, Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Black women die from pregnancy complications two to three times more than their White and Hispanic counterparts, according to January 30, 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report containing the first national data on maternal deaths in the United States since 2007. Black Maternal Health Week (April 11–17) helps keep this heartbreaking health disparity front and center, where it belongs. When our sisters, mothers, daughters, friends, and co-workers are in danger, we need to do more. We all need to elevate and amplify the national conversation to raise awareness, spur action, and take steps to address Black maternal health. We know that about 60% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, and these new data are an important tool to guide our efforts. Continue reading...

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TEDMed

Articles

Reproductive health studies have shown that African American women experience a high burden of maternal mortality, infant mortality, and sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV. Furthermore, racism is a fundamental determinant of health status because it contributes to social inequalities (e.g., poverty) that shape health behaviors, access to healthcare, and interactions with medical professionals. -- Cynthia Prather, Taleria R. Fuller, William L. Jeffries IV, Khiya J. Marshall, A. Vyann Howell, Angela Belyue-Umole, and Winifred King. Health Equity. Dec 2018. 249-259 http://doi.org/10.1089/heq.2017.0045

Jamila Taylor, Cristina Novoa, Katie Hamm, and Shilpa Phadke. "Eliminating Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Mortality: A Comprehensive Policy Blueprint" Center for American Progress 
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2019/05/02/469186/eliminating-racial-disparities-maternal-infant-mortality/

Diversity in Medicine
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Start the Conversation

Three book cover images: Becoming Dr Q, Black Man in a White Coat, Becoming Broken

Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon by Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD, traces the author’s journey from a child in a Mexican village to a migrant farmworker in California to brain surgeon and researcher. Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflection on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy, MD, looks at how both Black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. Finally, The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper, MD, recounts the experiences of an African American emergency room doctor amid personal struggles that include her history with an abusive father and racial conflict faced in the ER ward.


What does the research show?

Research is a quest for truth. The job of a researcher is to use the most trustworthy resources to report the most accurate information. The role of the consumer is to consult a variety of trustworthy sources to reduce the chance of relying on misinformation or biased opinions and facts.

MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

Trust It or Trash It?


PubMed

An article that is published in a scholarly journal is peer-reviewed by experts in the field and scrutinized for accuracy by a team of editors and fact-checkers. Peer-reviewed, scholarly articles are very trustworthy.

To find scholarly biomedical literature, use PubMed, a free, online bibliographic resource. The database contains more than 30 million citations and abstracts developed and maintained by the NIH National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Links to the full-text articles may be present when available from other sources, such as the publisher's website or PubMed Central (PMC).

Becoming Dr Q
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NNLM Reading Club Book Kit

Do you want to share this book with your reading group? The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) has made it easy to download the discussion questions and promotional materials.


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Discussion Guide for Becoming Dr Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon
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Book

Book cover image Becoming Dr Q

Today he is known as Dr. Q, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads cutting-edge research to cure brain cancer. But not too long ago, he was Freddy, a nineteen-year-old undocumented migrant worker toiling in the tomato fields of central California. In this gripping memoir, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa tells his amazing life story--from his impoverished childhood in the tiny village of Palaco, Mexico, to his harrowing border crossing and his transformation from illegal immigrant to an American citizen and gifted student at the University of California at Berkeley and at Harvard Medical School. Packed with adventure and adversity - including a few terrifying brushes with death - Becoming Dr. Q is a testament to persistence, hard work, the power of hope and imagination, and the pursuit of excellence. It's also a story about the importance of family, mentors, and giving people a chance.audiobook vector imageebook vector image

14th International Latino Book Award for Best Biography

Becoming Dr Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon | Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa | University of California Press | 2011 | 328 pages | ISBN: 978-0520274563


Author

Photo Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD, is a consultant and serves as chair of the Department of Neurologic Surgery at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida, and he is recognized with the distinction of a named professorship, the William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professorship. In addition to his clinical activities, Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa leads NIH-funded research to find a cure for brain cancer. His cutting-edge research focuses on brain tumors and cell migration, health care disparities and clinical outcomes for neurosurgical patients in which the operating room is used as an extension for his research scenario. He has authored numerous high-impact scientific journal articles, chapters, abstracts and books.

Professional Website of Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD

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NNLM Reading Club Presents...

NNLM Reading Club Presents... an afternoon with Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, MD He'll join our host, Edgar Gil Rico, NAHH, to discuss his book, Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon. Dr Q, as he is known, shares his journey from a child in a Mexican village to migrant farmworker in California to world-renown brain surgeon and researcher. Dr Q will also answer audience questions.


Watch the Recording Closed Captioning symbol

Host Edgar Gil Rico of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health joined NNLM and our All of Us community partners for an afternoon with Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, MD to discuss his book, Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon.
Dr. Q, as he is known, shared his journey from a child in a Mexican village to a migrant farmworker in California to a world-renown brain surgeon and researcher. Dr. Q also answered audience questions.

Black Man in a White Coat
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Book

Book cover image Black Man in a White CoatWhen Damon Tweedy begins medical school, he envisions a bright future where his segregated, working-class background will become largely irrelevant. Instead, he finds that he has joined a new world where race is front and center. Black Man in a White Coat examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of many health problems in the black community. These issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. In this powerful, moving, and deeply empathic book, Tweedy explores the challenges confronting black doctors, and the disproportionate health burdens faced by black patients, ultimately seeking a way forward to better treatment and more compassionate care.audiobook vector imageebook vector image

New York Times Bestseller | Library Journal Best Book Selection | Booklist Editor's Choice Book Selection

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflection on Race and Medicine | Damon Tweedy MD | Picador | Reprint 2016 | 304 pages | ISBN: 978-1250105042


Damon Tweedy photoAuthor

Damon Tweedy, MD, is a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. He is an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine and staff physician at the Durham Veteran Affairs Health System. He has published articles about race and medicine in the New York TimesWashington PostChicago Tribune, and Raleigh News & Observer, as well as in various medical journals. He lives outside Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, with his family.

Official Website of Damon Tweedy MD

 

Interview

The Beauty in Breaking
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Book

Book cover image Beauty in Breaking

An African American emergency room physician reflects on how “the chaos of emergency medicine” helped her come to terms with a painful past and understand the true nature of healing. Though Harper grew up a member of the Washington, D.C. “black elite,” the beautiful homes she shared with her parents held a dark secret: domestic violence. Determined to “fix people” rather than hurt them the way her abusive father hurt her family, Harper became an ER doctor. Her path was difficult. After she accepted her first post-residency job, the man she had met at Harvard and later married walked away from their relationship. Braving a life on her own in a new city, night shifts in an urban hospital, and the life-and-death dramas of the ER ward, Harper began a period of intense soul-searching. Observations of her patients and the struggles they faced taught her abundant lessons in human brokenness—especially her own—and resilience. A newborn baby whose death she could not explain helped her learn to open her heart and truly feel. A white male patient who had committed sexual assault on a female doctor forced the author to push past old memories of her father’s abuse and feelings of rage to see a human being in pain. A young black man brought to the ER ward by white police officers who unsuccessfully tried forcing him to submit to a medical examination for drugs reminded Harper of her own struggles as a black woman in an overwhelmingly white profession. It also made her realize that “America bears…many layers of racial wounds, both chronic and acute,” and that part of her purpose was to continue her fight to promote social healing. Tackling such painful subjects as domestic abuse, trauma, and racism with grace and wisdom, this eloquent book probes the human condition as it chronicles a woman’s ever-evolving spiritual journey.audiobook vector imageebook vector image

New York Times Bestseller

The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir | Michele Harper, MD | Penguin Random House | 2020 | 304 pages | ISBN: 978-0525537380


Michele Harper photoAuthor

Michele Harper has worked as an emergency room physician for more than a decade at various institutions, including as chief resident at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx and in the emergency department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Harvard University and the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. The Beauty in Breaking is her first book.

Official Website of Michele Harper, MD

Interview

Reading icon image'There Are Constant Battles': Dr. Michele Harper Opens Up About Racism in the Emergency Room.PeopleJuly 7, 2020

Battling Over Birth
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Battling Over Birth book cover image

"By distilling the common and diverse threads from over 100 black women, researchers from the Black Women Birthing Justice have woven a multi-faceted tapestry reflecting what black women view as important and central to optimal birth experiences. Their recommendations for improving care and outcomes are grounded in black women’s authoritative knowledge. This wonderful, important, necessary research by and for black women points in the direction that black women think we should go to ensure they have safe, healthy, and satisfying birth experiences and outcomes. We need to listen and act." -- Christine Morton, PhD, author, Birth Ambassadors: Doulas and the Re-Emergence of Woman-Supported Birth in America

"... reveals hard truths—powerful findings on the role of racism, coercion, inadequate prenatal care, the pressures undermining breastfeeding, and the lack of access to alternatives to a broken maternal healthcare system as the key threads of Black women’s birth experiences." --Kimberly Seals Allers, MS, is an award-winning journalist, author, and an internationally recognized speaker, consultant, and advocate for maternal and infant health.​

Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis | Julia Chinyere Oparah; Helen Arega; Dantia Hudson; Linda Jones; Talita Osegueral | Praeclarus Press: Excellence in Women's Health |  2018 | 206 pages | ISBN: 978-1946665119

Authors

Photo of the authors

A collaboration of the Black Women Birthing Justice (BWBJ), a collective of African-American, African, Caribbean, and multiracial women who are committed to transforming birthing experiences for black women and transfolks.

Chinyere Oparah began her tenure as Provost and Dean of the Faculty on January 1, 2017, after serving for almost twenty years on the Mills College faculty. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, raised in the South of England and with roots in SE Nigeria, Oparah’s educational background includes the study of languages, literature, philosophy, sociology, ethnic studies, and community development. She received her BA and MA in modern and medieval languages from Cambridge University, Postgraduate Diploma in community practice from Luton University, MA in the race and ethnic studies from Warwick University, and Ph.D. in sociology with a focus on black women’s civic engagement from Warwick University.

Helen Arega is a traditional birth attendant, activist, and educator. She is a member of Black Women Birthing Justice and currently serves as the Roots of Labor Doula Coordinator. Helen was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to the US when she was 4 yrs. old. While she has spent most of her life in US she is very passionate about birth justice issues on a global scale, specifically in Afrika. She describes herself as calm, passionate, reliable, and organized. Sending love and light!

Dantia Hudson is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Educator, and Yoga Instructor. She attended UC Berkeley for her undergraduate degree where she majored in Sociology and received a Masters in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. She works as a public health researcher focusing on improving health outcomes for all communities and teaches an undergraduate public health course at Mills College. She is a member of the Black Women’s Birthing Justice and a BirthWays Board Member. Dantia enjoys arts and crafts projects in her spare time and loves spending time outside in the California sun; she resides in Oakland.

Linda Jones (formerly Jones-Mixon)is a Birth and Postpartum Doula and mother of two who lives in Oakland, CA. She founded and owned Waddle and Swaddle Baby Boutique and Resource Center in Berkeley, CA, and has been a part of the natural birth advocacy community in the Bay Area for over two decades. She belongs to Sistahs of the Good Birth, a group of Black Doulas who work with low-income mothers. She was one of the founders of a volunteer Doula group that provided services for low-income, uninsured, and teen moms that birthed at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley.

Talita Oseguera is a doula and a student in the University of California San Diego's nursing and midwifery program.

Motherhood So White
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Motherhood So White book cover image

When Nefertiti Austin, a single African American woman, decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster-care system, she was unprepared for the fact that there is no place for Black women in the “mommy wars.” Austin set off on her path without the ability to seek guidance from others who looked like her or shared her experience. She soon realized that she would not only have to navigate skepticism from the adoption community, who deal almost exclusively with white women but surprisingly, from her own family and friends as well. Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti’s fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now.audiobook vector imageebook vector image

Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America | Nefertiti Austin | Sourcebooks | 2019 | 304 pages | ISBN: 978-1492679011


Author

Photo of Nefertiti Austin

Nefertiti Austin writes about the erasure of diverse voices in motherhood. Her work around this topic has been short-listed for literary awards and appeared in the Huffington PostHuffPost Live, and The Atlantic. Nefertiti’s expertise stems from firsthand experience and degrees in U.S. history and African American studies.

Official Website of Nefertiti Austin

Book: We Live for the We
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We Live for the We book cover

In We Live for the We, first-time mother, Dani McClain, sets out to understand how to raise her daughter in what she, as a black woman, knows to be an unjust–even hostile–society. Black women are more likely to die during pregnancy or birth than any other race; black mothers must stand before television cameras telling the world that their slain children were human beings. What, then, is the best way to keep fear at bay and raise a child so she lives with dignity and joy? McClain spoke with mothers on the frontlines of movements for social, political, and cultural change who are grappling with the same questions. Following a child’s development from infancy to the teenage years, We Live for the We touches on everything from the importance of creativity to building a mutually supportive community to navigating one’s relationship with power and authority. It is an essential handbook to help us imagine the society we build for the next generation.audiobook vector imageebook vector image

We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood | Dani McClain | Bold Type Books | 2019 | 272 pages | ISBN: 978-1568588544


Photo of Dani McClainAuthor

Dani McClain reports on race and reproductive health. She is a contributing writer at The Nation and a fellow with Type Media Center. McClain’s writing has appeared in outlets including The New York TimesTIMEThe AtlanticSlate, Colorlines, EBONY.com, and The Rumpus. In 2018, she received a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Her work has been recognized by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. McClain was a staff reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has worked as a strategist with organizations including Color of Change and Drug Policy Alliance.

Official Website of Dani McClain