Lynn VanderWielen, PhD, MPH
Representation Matters - Our Lives Depend on it
Recently published research sought to understand if Black communities with Black primary care providers lived longer than Black communities without Black primary care providers. While the effect was small, researchers found that indeed, Black communities lived longer when there were Black primary care doctors providing care to the community.
What does this mean for mixed families? Well, representation and aligned lived experiences matter. They matter so much that it is associated with how long we live.
Our kids are uniquely nestled in the boundaries between races - they have a shared lived experience with two or more unique communities. While the world tries to tell us that our kids are somehow less than (ummm…no!), we know that with our intentional and loving support they can understand privilege and adversity (marginalization, racism, colorism, etc.) in a way that monoracial individuals cannot.
So when it comes to supporting the mixed community, we need to hold intentional space for creating and nurturing relationships with marginalized monoracial communities so that we can support efforts to advance racial justice.
When it comes to representation, we need to advocate for racial diversity in the fields of healthcare (physical and behavioral health!) and education, and all helping professions. We need to seek relationships for our kids where they can see themselves and they will be seen for their beauty, intelligence, and creativity AND support representation for monoracial Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
A multiracial Black and White physician once shared with me that he often hears from his Black patients that they are grateful and appreciative to have a Black doctor in their corner - they breathe a sign of relief when he walks in the door as they don’t feel the pressure to have to prove that they are worthy of safety and life. The same doctor hears this from his Russian patients as he introduces himself in Russian.
There is a profound power to connect when multiracial and living in the racial borderland.
Join the Samahra Community today for more content related to our multiracial families and ways to connect and support your multiracial kids. They deserve our best selves, which likely requires us to better understand multiracial identity development.
The article for today can be found here.
Citation: Snyder JE, Upton RD, Hassett TC, Lee H, Nouri Z, Dill M. Black Representation in the Primary Care Physician Workforce and Its Association With Population Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(4):e236687. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.6687
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash