February 2021 Webinar: Dr. Paula Braveman, “Race or racism? The Black-White disparity in preterm birth”

On Monday, February 22nd, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST / 2:00pm to 3:00pm AST, PROTECT hosted its spring webinar of the 2020-2021 academic year.  This webinar, “Race or racism?  The Black-White disparity in preterm birth,” was presented by Dr. Paula Braveman, Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Founding Director of the Center for Health Equity (formerly the Center on Social Disparities in Health) at the University of California, San Francisco. 

A recording of the webinar is available below and at the PROTECT YouTube page.

Webinar Description:  There has been a large and persistent disparity in preterm birth (PTB) rates for decades.  Many hypotheses have been advanced to explain it, with many clinicians and scholars assuming that the disparity must reflect underlying biological differences and/or disparities in prenatal care.  A review of the evidence, however, does not support those explanations.  Many downstream causes are plausible.  The one upstream cause that could set in motion all of the plausible downstream factors is racism.  This talk will argue that, when considering the causes of racial disparities in any health outcome, all of the health-harming experiences and exposures a person may have had because of racism should be considered as possible contributors; biological difference is not an acceptable default assumption. 

Biography: Paula Braveman, MD, MPH is Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Founding Director of the Center for Health Equity (formerly the Center on Social Disparities in Health) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her formal training was in Family and Community Medicine (at UCSF) and in Epidemiology (at University of California, Berkeley).  Dr. Braveman has worked as a physician at the county hospital, a neighborhood health center, and a school-based health center in San Francisco.  For over 30 years, she has studied and published extensively on health equity, health disparities, and the social determinants of health, and has worked to bring attention to these issues in the U.S. and internationally.  Her research has focused on measuring, documenting, understanding, and addressing socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in health, primarily in maternal and infant health.  Her research has shed light on the role of racism in racial disparities in maternal and child health.  During the 1980s she collaborated with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization to support public health efforts in Central America.  During the 1990s she collaborated with World Health Organization staff in Geneva to develop an initiative on equity in health in low- and middle-income countries.  She directed the research for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national commission on the social determinants of health.  Throughout her career, she has collaborated with local, state, national, and international health agencies to see rigorous research translated into practice for greater health equity. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) in 2002.