Black Newborn Mortality Lower With Care From Black Doctors

However, racial concordance between mother and physician not tied to lower maternal mortality

FRIDAY, Sept. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- When newborns and the physicians treating them are of the same race, the newborn survival rate is significantly improved, according to a study published online Sept. 1 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brad N. Greenwood, Ph.D., from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and colleagues examined 1.8 million hospital births in Florida between 1992 and 2015 to examine the association between patient-physician concordance and clinical care outcomes.

The researchers found that newborn-physician racial concordance was associated with a significant improvement in mortality for Black infants. When Black newborns were cared for by Black physicians, their in-hospital death rate was one-third lower compared with Black newborns cared for by White physicians. The benefits were more pronounced during more complicated births and in hospitals that deliver more Black babies. However, there were no significant improvements in maternal mortality when birthing mothers shared concordant race with their physician.

"This study is the first piece of evidence that demonstrates the effect of physician-patient racial concordance on the Black-White mortality gap," a coauthor said in a statement. "As we seek to close persistent racial gaps in birth outcomes, this finding is incredibly important."

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