21 Day Challenge


Welcome to the second week of the 21 Day Racial Equity and social justice challenge. People of color suffer worse health outcomes than white people, even when controlling for income and other factors. Learn why these disparities aren’t about race, but racism.



Today we are talking about the impact of toxic stress caused by daily exposure to discrimination on the health of people of color.

TED MED Talk: How Racism Makes Us Sick

Why does race matter so profoundly for health? David R. Williams developed a scale to measure the impact of discrimination on well-being, going beyond traditional measures like income and education to reveal how factors like implicit bias, residential segregation and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality. In this eye-opening talk, Williams presents evidence for how racism is producing a rigged system -- and offers hopeful examples of programs across the US that are working to dismantle discrimination. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzyjDR_AWzE

TN Office on Minority Health and Disparities Elimination: https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/dmhde.html

VA Office on Health Equity: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/health-equity/

Test Yourself for Implicit Bias: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html


America is the most dangerous wealthy country in the world to give birth. This is, in part, due to the dramatic racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality. Toxic stress and bias in medical care mean that women of color are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications. Racism is a public health crisis and it is time to treat it as such.

Healing the Maternal Health Divide

In 2019, American women are more than twice as likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than they were in 1987. More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than women in any other developed country. And only in the U.S. has the rate of women who die been rising. What can cities do to grapple with the growing maternal health crisis, and to provide every mother the best care? Muriel Bowser, Mayor, City of Washington, D.C., and Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO, March of Dimes, joined journalist Susan Saulny to discuss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsJEBBgO0Ag

March of Dimes TN & VA report card links

TN: https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/tools/reportcard.aspx?frmodrc=1&reg=47

VA:  https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/tools/reportcard.aspx?frmodrc=1&reg=51

Black Doulas in US: https://www.blackdoulas.org/



A large part of our health is determined by our environment. For generations, the impact of pollution and environmental damage has largely fallen on marginalized communities. Systemically racist policies have resulted in people of color having an increased likelihood of exposure to unsafe drinking water, lead paint in homes, and industrial waste. Today we are looking at the environmental justice movement and the people of color pushing for change.

Environmental Racism is the New Jim Crowe

African Americans face disproportionate rates of lead poisoning, asthma, and environmental harm. Staff writer Vann R. Newkirk II argues that discrimination in public planning is to blame. “Pollution and the risk of disaster are assigned to black and brown communities through generations of discrimination and political neglect,” says Newkirk II. The environment is a system controlled and designed by people—“and people can be racist.” https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/529137/environmental-racism-is-the-new-jim-crow/

Environmental Justice in Your community

TN: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-your-community

VA: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/environmental-justice-your-community


The history of the exploitation and brutalization of people of color by doctors and others in the medical field is one of America’s most tragic and largely untold stories. Thanks to the work of people like Harriet Washington, author of Medical Apartheid, there is a new willingness to grapple with the impact of this trauma. Knowing our past if the first step towards a more equitable future.

The US Medical System is Still Haunted by Slavery

Black women's history matters in medicine. Read ProPublica's feature piece on how the US is the most dangerous industrialized country in which to give birth, and racial disparities in maternal mortality make it even worse for women of color: https://www.propublica.org/article/no... And they're seeking your help in understanding the problem. If you nearly died during pregnancy or know someone who died due to childbirth related causes, check out this page for more information: http://propub.li/2Ae5RMi


The Supreme Court Ruling That Led To 70,000 Forced Sterilizations Podcast



Have you ever been to the doctor and have them tell you that the pain or discomfort you are feeling isn’t real or isn’t serious? Do you worry that, in an emergency, unconscious bias could delay or deny you life-saving care? If you are a person of color this is an all to common experience. Today we are learning how a history of racism in American medicine combined with unconscious bias from health care professionals is impacting the quality of care that people of color receive today.

Harriet Washington, "Medical Apartheid" author interview:

On August 19, 2019 we caught up with Harriet Washington, Lecturer in Bioethics at Columbia University and author of “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present,” before her lecture, “History, Ethics and Contemporary Medical Abuses.” Here is a short interview with her discussing a range of topics related to the historical roots of bias and abuse in modern healthcare toward African Americans.



Too Many Doctors Still Believe Racial Stereotypes:


Emergency Medical Responders Confront Racial Bias:


The YWCA NETN and SWVA works every day to address the issues of racism and social injustice affecting underserved people in our local area.  We offer working parents affordable, quality childcare and after school care in a racially anti-biased environment.  We provide services and assistance to victims of domestic abuse, dating violence and bullying. Through our programming we are able to address many of the issues which are also national problems.

MOMS R US is the only teen-specific pregnancy and parenting support program in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. MOMS R US is an ongoing effort to improve the lifetime health of teens and their babies, while equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to welcome their baby into a safe and nurturing environment. Infants born to adolescent parents are at a higher risk of being born at a low birth weight, grow up in poor households and confront a multitude of adverse childhood experiences such as abuse or neglect, often by well-meaning but overwhelmed and underprepared parents who are still children themselves.  The 2018 Tennessee Department of Health reported a total of 120 teen pregnancies ages 10-19 in Sullivan County. The rate per 1,000 teens for Sullivan County is 13.8, just under the rate for the state of Tennessee being 15.0.