Bill Releford, the app was developed by a coalition of black medical professionals in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has devastated African American and Latino communities. With Black Doctor 247, anyone in the United States can access a black doctor. Kimberly Wilson is the founder of HUED, an app created to help Black and Latino patients connect with doctors of color for health services. Wilson created the company after her own health scare exposed to disparities that many like her face.
A black woman seeks to change that by establishing a new tool to help marginalized groups connect with doctors in their communities. The proportion of black doctors nationwide has increased by just 4 percentage points in the past 120 years, according to a study conducted last year by UCLA. Every appointment on my calendar reminds me that I am preparing for the last battle of a long war that African Americans have been waging for centuries. In the specialty, black women account for about 7% of active physicians, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Digital services were largely created by black doctors and patients, women who are increasingly breaking into the technology space as entrepreneurs and using technology to address disparities in their communities. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is an award-winning writer, speaker and activist who works to amplify the voices of black women in mainstream dialogue, especially in conversations about health and parenting. It's a space for an open conversation about what it means to be black and to be pregnant, with maternal mortality rates rising. Finding a black provider who is in a patient's insurance network, who works closely and accepts new patients can be difficult, said Cooper, an obstetrician and gynecologist who practices with the Alameda Health System.
Racial disparities within the health system due to the persistent effects of systemic racism prevent thousands of Black and Latino patients from receiving the proper service they deserve. Only 3% of active physicians are black women, but their presence is crucial given the history of medical abuse and health disparities faced by African Americans. Staff respond to patient questions, advise if immediate medical intervention is needed, and serves as additional support for black patients. Black and Latino Americans accounted for 58% of all patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 53% of those who died from the disease.
Early research has documented that specific populations, such as black men, report better health outcomes when they have access to black providers. They include sites such as Therapy for Black Girls, a service focused on de-stigmatizing mental health, and Health in Her Hue, which offers a database of culturally competent providers in dermatology, oncology and other specialties.