Equity advocates in Connecticut say racial bias in health care has been linked to the fact that Black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants.
That’s often because healthcare professionals pay less attention to Black women, according to Cynthia Hayes of Doulas for Connecticut Coalition, a multiracial association of midwives.
“Black women want and need to be listened to and understood. Data collection is one of the many critical roles of the doula profession and can help improve services and outcomes,” Hayes said.
A bill before the state Senate would create a legislative commission on racial equity and public health. The commission would be tasked with making recommendations for laws to collect the data.
The bill was prompted by the health inequities that were exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams is co-chair of the Legislature’s Public Health Committee. She said the bill sponsored by Senate Democrats would mandate that the data be collected.
“If we are declaring racism as a public health crisis. And if we are creating ways to address that crisis then data is crucial to our ability to pass legislation that would make policies and close that gap in equity,” Abrams said.
The commission would also recommend a strategic plan to eliminate health disparities in state policies involving housing, the criminal justice system, access to food, environmental hazards and other issues.
Proponents say they are confident they can pass the bill this year.