The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) strives to lead from within. For more than three decades, BWHI has been studying what makes Black women thrive. Our team listens and learns from our community and, in turn, provides evidence-based educational programs to improve our health. We advocate with a strong voice for the health and care of our community. For example, our IndexUS report discusses the things that Black women say they need to live healthy lives, including access to care, financial stability, reproductive justice and more agency in their lives.
We also know that our women have higher death rates from breast and other cancers than our white counterparts. We have the highest rates of HIV among women and higher rates of cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. If we are going to understand the root causes and develop treatments and cures, we must participate in the studies that will help us get there.
That is why for nearly two years BWHI has supported the work of the All of Us Research Program. Our goal is to spread the word and connect underrepresented participants with the program because we believe that clinical research will help to improve health outcomes for Black women.
Health data is so important to closing disparities and creating access and equity. To that end, BWHI is helping lead the charge in reaching out to Black women across the U.S.—educating them about All of Us and about the value of volunteering to contribute their health data over many years to improve health outcomes and fuel the development of new treatments for disease. We want and need science and medicine that reflects us and our needs.
All of Us has the potential to help researchers understand more about why people get sick or stay healthy. And the program is hopeful that with more than one million joining and sharing information about their health, habits, and what it’s like where they live, that pattern will emerge, and researchers may learn more about what affects people’s health.
Now is the time for Black women to participate in research that supports precise, effective care. We believe that medical care that is based on us as individuals can help eliminate health inequality and create a better future for us and our families. All of Us takes into account factors like where you live, what you do, your genes, and your family health history. We acknowledge and discuss the historical context of Black people and clinical research, The Tuskegee experiments are a part of our history, the impact of Henrietta Lacks is real. But we must also move forward in informed good faith to ensure we are a part of future research, so we aren’t left out of life-saving treatment and prevention strategies. If you’d like to know more about how to sign up for the All of Us Research Program go to www.joinallofus.org/together.
Black women have a real opportunity to come to the table. As an early partner to the program, BWHI has been heartened by the program’s commitment to ensure that we are among the one million or more participants, who reflect the broad diversity of our nation.