What exactly is Black Health? Black Health explores what Black people are predisposed
to in terms of mental and physical well-being because of their genetic makeup. However, it also
explores how societal issues impact the health of Black individuals. Statistically on nearly every
spectrum of disease, Black people have unfavorable health outcomes. We find ourselves either at
higher risk for developing disease or our fatality rate yielding greater numbers. While access to
insurance, health care, and socioeconomic status do play a considerable part in these health
disparities, we also tend to lack awareness about preventive steps we could take as a community.
Although a lot of negative stigma does surround Black Health, there is a recent focus on
revolutionizing Black Health and reclaiming Black physical and mental health with movements
such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program and the Black Boy Joy movement.
This section of New Dawn will discuss Black Health and well-being - including tackling
both physical and mental health problems, stigmas, and solutions. But first, let’s introduce some
of the issues that the Black community encounters in healthcare and wellness.
- Heart health: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and the
leading cause of death worldwide. As daunting as that statistic is, the risk of heart
disease - and consequently death - for Black people is substantially higher than other
racial groups. Although you can’t change your race, there are several other controllable
risk factors. Reasons for our susceptibility to heart disease include obesity, diabetes, and
high blood pressure due to poor diets and lack of exercise. This section of New Dawn
will shine a light on the different types of heart disease, the way they affect the Black
population, and the steps we can take to tackle it.
- Reproductive Health: While the liberal feminist movement commonly whitewashes
reproductive health, this issue is one seeded in the history of Black people since slavery.
The robbery of autonomy and choice affected our ancestors and still permeates the
discussion of reproductive health and justice today. Presently, the Black community faces
substantially higher rates of certain STIs, unintended pregnancies, infant and maternal
mortality, and accessibility to contraceptives. These issues of reproductive health
intersect across race, gender, and class. This section of New Dawn will discuss the multi-
faceted issue of reproductive health through examining the history, policy, and societal
conditions that makes this issue so controversial but relevant in our society.
- Male Health: Why is going to the doctor taboo within the Black male community? Is the
idea of ‘The Strong Black Man’ killing Black men? Questions such as these will be
addressed in our discussions of Black male health. Black men are disproportionately
affected by diabetes, hypertension, HIV/AIDS, and prostate cancer. What makes these
health issues so pertinent in the Black community and what can be done to stop them?
This section of New Dawn hopes to dispel some myths regarding Black male health and
discuss why the stigma surrounding it continues to be problematic in our society.
- Mental health: While Black people only make up about thirteen percent of the
population in the United States, almost a quarter of us have a diagnosable mental illness.
This results in millions of people struggling with both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental
illnesses yearly. Because of the shame and stigma associated with such conditions, Black
people are often reluctant to discuss mental health issues and seek treatment. This
section of New Dawn will seek to make mental illness in the Black community less
taboo, more approachable, and emphasize the resources available.
With this series in New Dawn, we hope to shed some light on the health issues and crises that
permeate within the Black community. We will be presenting statistics, historical facts, policies,
and controversies that chronicle these events and offer tips on what you can do to help the cause
- the best way to stay healthy is to stay woke.
What other Black Health topics do want us to investigate? What does Black Health mean to you?
Leave some comments down below!
by Assata DeMyers and Maia Thornton