The theme for 2022 Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness and the leaders and innovators throughout American history.
The National Association of Certified Professional Midwives (NACPM) documents some of that history. While there are recognized leaders like Michelle Obama, there are much more unrecognized and unnamed, for example, in 1925 in the state of Georgia there were approximately 9,000 black, indigenous and immigrant midwives serving in their own communities.
Everyday Health provides a look at historical pioneering men and women who helped change the course of healthcare and race relations. They invented first-of-their-kind medical devices, developed innovative surgical procedures, paved the way for improved patient access to quality care, and raised awareness about quality-of-life issues.
Many may not know that the Black Panthers played a pivotal role in healthcare for their communities. The Black Panther Party and its impact on Black health and wellness some of which still persist today. The common narrative created by the dominant culture that still exists today about the Party is generally negative but the Party had a significant positive impact on the Black community with its breakfast, education and health programs.
The Panthers’ activism was partially inspired by the Communist model in China, and, when Chairman Mao Zedong invited a delegation of the group—including Small—to tour the country in 1972, they witnessed a model of healthcare they were eager to implement back home. This influenced a network of clinics in American cities such as Oakland and beyond.