Kimberly Seals Allers, an award-winning journalist, five-time author, and strategist for maternal and infant health, converts community reviews by Black and brown pregnant women and birthing people into quantitative data to help hospitals improve care.

Kimberly is a world-renowned commentator on birth, breastfeeding, and motherhood at the intersection of race, policy, and culture. She is the founder of Irth (as in Birth but without the B for bias), the first-of-its-kind “Yelp-like” review and rating app for Black and brown women and birthing people to leave and find reviews of Ob/Gyns, hospitals, and pediatricians. She is also host of Birthright, a podcast about joy and healing in Black birth.

Highlights include:

2:20 – KSA: “While there have been many efforts to address what’s going on in hospitals, you may have heard of anti-bias trainings, which have had zero accountability and actually no statistical research proving that they actually work.”

7:07 – KSA: “One of the things that has been really common has been dismissiveness of pain levels. It’s one of the most reported negative experience in the Irth app right now. And so this idea there was actually quote unquote science and research that said that Black women did not feel pain as white people did. Now this was taught in medical schools and this has actually traveled around parading as science, but it was just racism. And so when we talk about the ways that racism shows up, we also have to understand it’s not just on the interpersonal level. It also goes to the way that physicians are taught stereotypes that have in embedded themselves into practice and research.”

9:15 – KSA: “Our work really is to turn those qualitative experiences into quantitative data, then we go to hospitals and really push for change.”

16:04 – KSA: “(Racism) is in everyone, so unless you’re being intentional to undo it and reverse it, it’s just going to show up.”

18:15 – KSA: “We provide hyperlocal, patient-reported insights directly to hospitals so that they can work on what’s going on in their institution specifically.”

24:50 – KSA: “Everybody wants to talk about the problem. But people are not talking enough about some of the solutions being created, particularly from Black and brown folks.”

25:55 – KSA: “Whatever the question, the answer is in the community.”

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a former EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to create a healthcare system that actually cares about the patients and the providers.