Queer Doula Advocates for Black and LGBTQ+ Patients Amid High Mortality Rates

Annie Rosenblum, a queer doula and abortion worker, advocates for Black and queer patients in Gainesville, Florida, where the local hospital has high maternal and infant mortality rates. Rosenblum provides emotional and logistical support to her clients, ensuring their voices are heard in medical settings.

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Nitish Verma
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Queer Doula Advocates for Black and LGBTQ+ Patients Amid High Mortality Rates

Queer Doula Advocates for Black and LGBTQ+ Patients Amid High Mortality Rates

In Gainesville, Florida, Annie Rosenblum, a white queer full-spectrum doula andabortion worker, is making a difference for Black and queer patients navigating a healthcare system fraught with challenges. Rosenblum's advocacy comes at a critical time, as the local hospital where she serves is known for its high maternal and infant mortality rates, particularly among Black and brown patients.

Why this matters: The high mortality rates in this hospital reflect a broader issue of systemic racism and discrimination in the healthcare system, which can have devastating consequences for marginalized communities. Addressing thesedisparities is crucial to ensuring equal access to quality healthcare and improving health outcomes for all.

Recently, while driving a Black and queer client to deliver their baby at the hospital, Rosenblum was confronted with the stark reality of the fears and concerns faced by marginalized communities. "Don't let them kill me,"the client expressedduring the car ride, highlighting the deep-seated apprehension about bigotry and discrimination within the healthcare system.

As a doula, Rosenblum plays a crucial role in advocating for her clients, providing emotional, physical, and logistical support, as well as ensuring their voices are heard within medical settings. Her work involves slowing down doctors and nurses when necessary and consistently checking in with clients to ensure they arecomfortablewith the care they are receiving.

The importance of doulas like Rosenblum is becoming increasingly recognized, especially for transgender and gender-nonconforming birthing people who often face feelings of loneliness and erasure within a healthcare system built on a binary understanding of gender, anatomy, and parenthood. The expanding coverage for doula care under Medicaid is a positive step towards acknowledging the vital role these advocates play in improving maternal and infant health outcomes.

As Rosenblum continues her work in Gainesville, her dedication to advocating for Black and queer patients serves as a beacon of hope in the face of systemic challenges. The high maternal and infant mortality rates at the local hospital underscore the urgent need for change and the importance of advocates like Rosenblum in driving that change. Her unwaveringcommitmentto her clients and their well-being is a testament to the power of compassion and advocacy in the fight for equitable healthcare.