The Medical Mystery: Racial Disparities in the American Healthcare System

Irene Kwon ’21

Faculty Advisor:  Clair Dahm, Instructor in History and Social Science
October 30, 2020

Can healthcare be racist? Can science be biased? These questions arise in a contemporary setting in which health outcomes are drastically different depending on the color of one’s skin. Irene Kwon ’21 will address the impact of systemic racism in the United States on the healthcare industry, specifically as it relates to maternal health. Why are Black women four times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than their white counterparts?

With historical contextualization and the framework of reproductive justice in mind, Kwon will discuss the present reality of maternal health as a result of the convergence of implicit biases, scientific racism, and lack of access. Kwon’s research seeks to understand the historical and sociological factors that have led to a broken healthcare system—the same system that has led to COVID-19 affecting BIPOC communities much more severely than white communities. Her presentation closes with an exploration of modern activism movements that aim to bring justice to Black women and mothers.

Watch Irene’s presentation here!

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