September Collaboratory - #BlackWomenKnow: Black Women's Recommendations to Address Structural Racism



In this [focus] group I found a passion that I didn’t know I had

Valentina, Research Participant

See more images from the event on our Facebook page!

Last year, our July 2018 Collaboratory was led by PTBi Researcher Brittany Chambers, where she spoke with Black women across the reproductive lifespan to define and reconceptualize structural racism. From these conversations, nine domains emerged: negative societal views, housing, medical care, law enforcement, hidden resources, employment, education, community infrastructure, and policing Black families.

For our September Collaboratory, we highlighted the second phase of this work, presenting policy recommendations from Black women in Fresno and Oakland based on these nine domains to address structural racism to improve the health of Black women, children, and families. 

To begin, Dr. Chambers introduced the Research Prioritization by Affected Communities (RPAC) strategy, as a process she used to partner with Black women in Fresno and Oakland to develop policy recommendations that address structural racism. The RPAC strategy partners with communities to center in on their expertise, prioritizing research questions or recommendations to address a health issue. Brittany shared “research doesn’t normally give back to the community – so how do we develop products that can be useful to the community.” As a result, Dr. Chambers convened Black women twice over a three-month period to develop recommendations and materials including infographics, postcards, and a flyer for women to share with their family, community and policymakers.

After her introduction, Dr. Chambers welcomed three of her research participants to the stage to engage in a fireside chat. Each speaker was asked a series of questions about their involvement in the multi-phased project.

  • The first phase of the project focused on defining and describing structural racism from the perspective of Black women.
  • The second phase was focused on developing policy recommendations for the topic areas of structural racism defined and described by Black women.

When asked, “why did you choose to take part in a study focused on addressing racism to improve Black women’s reproductive health outcomes,” Talita shared “I really enjoy research because it could have a big effect on public health…Being in a research study that not only centers individualized racism but also structural racism and is Black women-led really spoke to me.” In addition, Natessa shared that the most rewarding part of this study was “finding my voice, I am ready to talk now.”

Afterward, attendees participated in a facilitated exercise to develop policy recommendations for California. The event ended with attendees addressing postcards with policy recommendations to their local officials and solo of the Black National Anthem.

Black-owned vendors supported this event:


Brittany Chambers

Brittany Chambers

Brittany Chamber is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research agenda is focused on understanding how racism impacts Black women’s reproductive health outcomes and identifying community-level interventions and policies to address them.

Valentine Iwuoha

Valentia Iwuoha

Valentia Iwuoha is a nursing student at Chabot College. She works at Fremont Hospital as a mental health technician. She is passionate about bring awareness to the unfair treatment and discrimination faced by Black women and people. She was a study participant from the Oakland Community.

Natessa Beltran

Natessa Beltran

Natessa Beltran is a stay at home mother and enjoys spending time with her children. She was a study participant from the Fresno Community.

Talita Oseguera

Talita Oseguera

Talita Oseguera is a doula and nursing student at the University of California, San Francisco. Talita uses a reproductive justice framework to advance the care experiences and reproductive health outcomes of Black women.