Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth: An Author Talk

February 26, 2021 -
4:00pm to 5:30pm

Dána-Ain Davis, PhD
Director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society
Professor of Anthropology, Graduate Center, CUNY (New York)

Moderator: Dara Mendez, PhD
Director of the Center for Health Equity
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Pitt Public Health

Abstract: Dána-Ain Davis will discuss her book, Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth (2019), which was chosen by the School of Public Health as its One Book, One Community selection. Black women have higher rates of premature birth than other women in America. The phenomenon cannot be simply explained by economic factors, with poorer women lacking resources or access to care. Even professional, middle-class black women are at a much higher risk of premature birth than low-income white women in the United States. Dr. Davis’s book focuses on professional black women, and places racial differences in birth outcomes into an historical context to reveal that ideas about reproduction and race today have been influenced by the legacy of ideas which developed during the era of slavery. Drawing on her interviews with mothers, fathers, neonatologists, nurses, midwives, and reproductive justice advocates, Dr. Davis argues that experiences prior to and in neonatal intensive care units reveal subtle but pernicious forms of racism that confound the perceived class dynamics that are frequently understood to be a central factor of premature birth. (Adapted from text supplied by NYU Press.)

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Sponsored by Pitt Public Health

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