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As Black babies die at a higher rate, it's time to listen to Black mothers

Data doesn’t just reflect numbers and facts. It fuels discovery. It creates knowledge. It helps us navigate common problems. Data reflects the state of our community and tells a story — sometimes, a painful one.

An abysmal and growing number is our city's infant mortality rate, which measures how many infants die before their first birthday for every 1,000 live births. In Milwaukee, that number is three times higher for Black babies.

“In Milwaukee, between 2018 and 2020, the number was two 10.2, which means about 10 babies die for every thousand live births,” said Erica Olivier, deputy commissioner of community health with the city of Milwaukee.

It's no surprise our healthcare system treats them differently; this pattern is longstanding in history. A study published in the National Library of Medicine shows that white patients are more likely than Blacks to be prescribed strong pain medications for equivalent illnesses.

We can reduce this number, but only if we start listening to Black mothers. On this episode of Uniquely Milwaukee, I spoke with Olivier to talk about medical accountability and how to reverse the staggeringly high death rates.

Audio Storyteller / 88Nine On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee