The historical and modern-day distrust of the medical system in the Black community stems from centuries of medical malpractice, misdiagnosis, and undertreatment at the hands of white professionals in medicine. All one has to do is search the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or the coerced sterilization spurred by the eugenics movement with the aim of controlling "undesirable" populations of immigrants, disabled, mentally ill, and people of color, preventing them from having children, to understand the deep-rooted mistrust.
In modern times, as one of the most medically advanced and industrialized countries, people of color and Black women, in particular, still encounter racism in healthcare, putting their well-being and lives at risk. Regardless of one's socioeconomic status, most Black women have endured trauma due to systematic racial bias and institutionalized racism structures and have experienced low-quality care, not being believed by their medical providers, and facing near-death and, at worst, fatal results because of the disparities in the healthcare system.
Only five percent of doctors in the US are Black although, there are more than 40 million Black people residing in the US.
Ashlee Wisdom, MPH, and CEO of Health In Her HUE is aware of the factors negatively impacting the health of Black women and was inspired to create a platform to change the health system and help Black women find Black, culturally competent providers.
"It's a dynamic platform. I want it to be a space where Black women can, yes, find healthcare providers that they're looking for and feel more comfortable trusting [the providers] — which tends to be Black women or Black doctors and providers regardless of gender identity," Wisdom told POPSUGAR. Additionally, Wisdom saw a need for Black providers to have more visibility being that only five percent of doctors in the US are Black, although there are more than 40 million Black people residing in the US.
Wisdom explained that health information such as research and data can be hard to understand and wanted to ensure that Black people had a place where they could find evidence-based healthcontent that reflects their unique experiences. "I felt like there should be a space online that talks about health information in a way that encompasses all of the different factors that impact our health, which includes the microaggressions that we experience both in the workplace and while trying to navigate the healthcare system, economic resources, and some of the barriers that we experience trying to access care, which includes health insurance," Wisdom said.
With Health In Her HUE, Black women will be able to find providers across all specialities. The app is currently in beta, but you can still find providers via the Health In Her Hue website. You can also support the launch of the of the app by donating to and spreading the word about their mission.
"Every Black woman needs to go in there understanding that they are an expert at their body because they've been with their body their entire life."
This app is just one way to improve the health outcomes for Black women, and Wisdom is a champion for Black women continuing to advocate for themselves. "Just go in there knowing that you know more about your body than a doctor who has an MD. There's that title hierarchy that we tend to feel that because this person's a doctor and they're an expert that they know more than me," she said. Additionally, she recommends being equipped with as much information as possible, to ask specific questions, and not to leave your appointment until you get clear answers to the questions you're asking.
It's important to take preventive measures to avoid certain health complications, Wisdom said, but she's also a proponent of not feeling afraid to demand what you need as a healthcare consumer since the healthcare system currently operates as a business. "Every Black woman needs to go in there understanding that they are an expert at their body because they've been with their body their entire life."