The long history of racism and sexism in health care gives mothers of color reason to be wary of health care institutions and workers.These women continue to face even higher challenges maternal mortality than other racial groups education or economic status.
Such racial health inequalities rampant. As a result, black Americans are making more medical decisions themselves.
and studyMy team at M Booth Health investigated where people seek information when making health care choices. We surveyed her over 2,500 adult American consumers demographically representative of age, gender, race, ethnicity, and income. Our findings shed new light on the power of health information and provide a roadmap for healthcare organizations to lead people to better health.
Three in 10 black mothers said they had not followed a doctor’s recommendation in the past 12 to 18 months because of information shared by close friends and family. A similar percentage of Hispanic mothers responded similarly. In contrast, 19% of white mothers said they had done this.
About the same number of black mothers (29%) said they ignore health information because they don’t feel it includes people like them. Twenty-three percent of Hispanic mothers and 18% of white mothers said so. (Information may come from government medical agencies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.)
Black mothers were also more likely to base health care decisions on social media posts, share health information themselves on social media, and choose treatments and vaccines based on celebrity influence. rice field.
Our survey found that black mothers are “very enthusiastic.” Not only do they advocate for their own health, they often advocate for the health of their loved ones as their family’s “chief medical officer.” They are always on the lookout for medical information.
And in the face of enormous health disparities, they have learned that they should not rely on conventional sources of information. So they look elsewhere.
This brings educational opportunities, but it also brings risks. Our research found that we are currently living in an era of “medical overload and misinformation,” which uses underlying mistrust of medical institutions to specifically target black Americans. I point out that there are some. So it’s not all that surprising that our survey found that black mothers were more likely to say they got sick because they didn’t have the necessary medical information.
Our research found that Black Americans have built their own network of people and resources they can trust when it comes to medical information. They turn to these networks, which we call “chosen circles,” when they have questions. These can consist of friends, family, online influencers, social media feeds, and more.
To reach out to black mothers, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies must partner with appropriate messengers like these mothers who share their experiences and earn their trust and respect.
A popular figure that these women think they can relate to should join a campaign that spreads important messages about medicines, vaccines, cures and more. Organizations should also work with the social media feeds that black women look to for reliable information.
Similarly, health leaders need to transform the way information is presented in their own materials, from videos to social media posts to brochures.Survey respondents said they would like to know the information presented To People like them—people within an organization who share key demographic characteristics. And information needs to be presented in a comprehensive manner through images and language that reflect the understanding and commitment of health leaders to the communities they seek to reach.
Building bridges with people of color, especially mothers, is up to health agencies at all levels of government, pharmaceutical companies, and other key players. Eliminating health inequalities requires a multi-pronged approach, and providing relevant, comprehensive and accessible health communication is critical.
The opinions expressed in commentary articles on Fortune.com are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the authors. luck.