Considering every aspect of a person’s identity when delivering medical care or when advocating for women’s health is crucial. The president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, an organization devoted to advancing the health and wellness of 20 million black women and girls in the United States, talks about making sure black women are included in conversations about women’s health. She discusses self-care, mental and physical health, black women’s experience of certain diseases, and more.
hercampus.com – “We need to create our own movements,” says Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI). “We need to highlight our issues, highlight the research, and propose the policy and programs and solutions.”
Founded in 1983 on Spelman College’s campus, the Black Women’s Health Imperative is dedicated to health advocacy for black women. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., they push for policies that focus on black women’s health. “It’s my job to get the kind of information that black women need so that they can understand what the issues are and what they should be doing,” explains Blount.
Since Blount took over BWHI four years ago, she has spearheaded an effort to empower black women to take control of their health.
After graduating from Eastern Michigan University with a Computer Engineering/Operations degree, and then going on to receive a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Michigan, she was immediately thrown into the health services research industry. From there she has launched a successful career that spans the public, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors – including seven years of market analysis for Coca-Cola and a number of years working with reproductive health and STD surveillance systems in Africa and the Caribbean.
Now, at the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Blount works to eliminate health disparities between black and white women. “We need to talk about us,” Blount explains about black women, “and the way that disease is expressed in us differently.” She stresses the importance of making health accessible – “at the Black Women’s Health Imperative, we’re taking the science and then translating it into something that women can understand, and most importantly act on.” This includes an upcoming article series in Essence magazine that will feature information about black women for black women.