Physician reflects on improving equity in healthcare through her work with patients, students and trainees

During Black History Month, this physician is thinking about how to influence and improve equity in healthcare at every stage.

Dr. Jacqueline Peebles, an obstetrics and gynecology physician at UW Health and clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, works with many kinds of patients, primarily those with gynecological concerns or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

“I love working with patients through the joys and challenges that come with a new baby,” Peebles said. “For example, breastfeeding can be difficult for many, but it has so many health benefits for mother and baby, so I work to support new mothers to breastfeed when possible.”

It is also an opportunity to reduce racial disparities. According to Peebles, Black mothers breastfeed at much lower rates than non-Hispanic white mothers, so she is focused on increasing rates of breastfeeding for mothers of color.

Plus, breastfeeding is widely recognized as a modifiable risk factor for breast cancer, and Black women experience disproportionately higher rates of aggressive types of breast cancer. So, when she is working with patients on breastfeeding, she aims to both improve immediate health outcomes and reduce other disparities for Black women over time.

Peebles recently joined the Maternal Child Health Steering Group, which is designed to improve Black maternal and infant health outcomes.

“I’m honored to be part of a group specifically focused on better health outcomes for Black moms and reducing the tragic and disproportionate Black infant mortality rates in Wisconsin,” Peebles said.

This work includes using telehealth to improve postpartum care for Black mothers, working with doulas to increase support for Black people during and after pregnancy, increasing access to social support services and more. Read more …