Linda Villarosa, director of City Collegeâ€™s journalism program and contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, said she always thought infant mortality was a problem in underdeveloped countries. That was until she met Simone Landrum, the woman who would be the subject of her New York Times article Why Americaâ€™s Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis. Landrum, a young mother from New Orleans, had recently lost her daughter in childbirth. Landrumâ€™s preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) was ignored, and it led to a hemorrhage that resulted in the babyâ€™s death. When Villarosa met Landrum, she was pregnant again and scared.
Villarosa shared Landrumâ€™s story during her lecture on race, health, and inequality on Monday, October 21, 2019, in Founders Auditorium. As part of the Collegeâ€™s celebration of its 50th anniversary, each academic school will host a featured speaker during the 2019â€“2020 academic year. The School of Science, Health and Technology hosted the first lecture of the series with Villarosa.
Villarosa told the audience that her research and her time with Landrum showed her Black mothers and infants in the United States are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women and children. She went on to say it was not due to irresponsibility, poverty, or genetics but rather the lived experience of being a Black woman in America. â€œOne of the statistics that struck me was with a college education, and in fact with an advanced degree, you are more likely to die in childbirth or lose your baby than a white woman with an eighth grade education,â€ said Villarosa.
In addition to Landrumâ€™s story, Villarosa also shared her research on misconceptions about pain tolerance how those beliefs affect the managed care Blackâ€™s receive. â€œWe are not getting the proper pain management, not even compared to White people but even compared to World Health Organization standards, and that myth has lasted since the first years of enslavement,â€ Villarosa added. Villarosaâ€™s research on the myths and misconceptions of Black Americansâ€™ health was featured in the New York Times 1619 Project, which marks the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans brought to America and gives an in-depth look at the legacy of slavery.
This event was recently featured in the Amsterdam News. You can read the articleÂ here.
The School of Education will host the next lecture series on November 25. The speaker is United Negro College Fund President and CEO, Dr. Michael L. Lomax.