Founder Byllye Avery led the charge. Avery set out to “address the massive challenges of racial and gender-based health disparities affecting Black women” and ultimately created the “magic” BWHI has accomplished over the last four decades.
What does that truly feel like?
Linda Goler-Blount: It feels like an incredible privilege. You know, there are many talented, qualified people out there, and ten years ago, the board picked me. They picked my vision. They picked my passion, and that’s not lost on me. Many people could have done this job, but the board selected me. So, I don’t take it lightly.
I see what the privilege is, I see it in the faces of Black women on the street, in the offices and in the airport where I spend a lot of time.
I know [Black women] need an organization who’s there for them, who’s gonna make sure they have access to information, services. They’re included in research so that when we talk about evidence-based medicine, they’re part of that evidence.
It fills my heart with incredible love and joy because somebody needs to work for us. That’s my job, and I get to do that.
If Black women don’t need more research, what is needed?
You know, we don’t need more research because we already know what the issues are. We don’t need to study health disparities anymore. We know what causes health disparities. And we know what will solve health disparities. We know its political will. We know its policies. We know it’s putting resources where they belong. That means changing people’s behavior.
Right now, the way the system is organized – it benefits the people who created the system, but we need that system to change – and we can make that change.
We can vote, we can run for office, but we can also work in the policy field, which is what we’re doing.
Maternal mortality: we hear those statistics all the time about how bad maternal mortality is every day. The government has quality measures for certain healthcare issues. If providers don’t meet those quality measures, they don’t get reimbursed. So, we have to work at the policy level as well.
We have to work at the community level, but we have to change policy because, honestly, we can’t count on providers doing things because they’re the right thing to do.
I was unaware of the Black Women’s Health Imperative until two years ago. Where can women tap into BWHI? It’s important to know about resources as much as it is to access them.
Well, they should go to BWHI.com and sign up to get on our newsletter. We keep people up to date on the policy changes in our policy work and everything that we’re doing right.
But also, as things happen in the moment, [BWHI] is on Instagram, Twitter, X,
We can direct women to the information they need in the moment so that they always have what they need to make the best decision for themselves.
Whatever policies or practices that come out of this include us and are for us and are something that we can rely on and that we can work with.
Source: Black Enterprise