Study To Begin On Health Disparities Among Frederick County’s African-American Population

It will concentrate on maternal and infant health.

Frederick, Md (KM) Work is expected to begin next year on a study examining health disparities in Frederick County’s African-American community. Danielle Haskins, a health planner with the County Health Department, says the study will concentrate on outcomes when it comes to maternal and infant health. “The health disparities study will take deep, introspective view in Frederick County’s Black population, specifically, the maternal child health population,” she says.

During the County Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Haskins says the study will begin in January, 2022, with the data from the study reported in July. Strategic planning will take place in September, with  programs to remedy the problem in place by October.

She says these disparities  are evident  in the African-American community when it comes to rates of Cesarean Sections, low birth weight, pre-term births and prenatal care.

As part of the presentation, Haskins pointed to infant mortality among African-Americans. “You’ll see here In Frederick County, in 2017, the rate from the Black community was significantly higher,” she says. According to the background material from the meeting, rate of infant mortality among Black people was 15.5 per 1,000 births compared to White people where it was 6.1 per 1,000.

She says this problem isn’t always the result of limited access to information about maternal and infant health. “It’s not about whose educated, knowing where to go,” she said. “But really the ability to process the information that’s available. And we know that discrimination, racism, stress, trauma and various other things play a role  in that ability.”

“Overall, Frederick County has great overall health outcomes and well being outcomes,” says Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer. “But that is not true for everyone. And it’s especially not true when we’re looking at infant mortality and other poor outcomes for women who are Black and African-Americans and their babies.  Right here in Frederick County; significant disparities.”

The study is expected to be conducted by an outside firm which has experience in Black maternal and child health, Haskins says.  

By Kevin McManus