Policy & Advocacy


Water, Health and Equity



The 2019 National Health Policy Agenda

The people you elect as your state, local and federal government officials have the power to pass policies, regulations and laws that can help — or harm — your health.

That’s why our policy and advocacy team serves as your voice – evaluates and develops national and state policies to hold elected officials accountable for addressing issues most critical to Black women’s health, especially regarding: breast and cervical cancers, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, intimate partner violence and sexual assault, maternal health and reproductive health.

We are also leading the effort to create the first National Health Policy Agenda for Black women.

BWHI Policy Priorities:

  1. Access to quality, affordable, and innovative approaches to provide comprehensive health care for Black women and girls.
  2. Equitable and adequate response for public health emergencies.
  3. Sufficient diversity in clinical research.
  4. Sustained financial support for HBCUs.


Here are 6 ways you can advocate for your health:

  • Speak to your employer about health care services to cover in insurance plans
  • Talk about health care issues you care about on social media
  • Tell your story! Have you overcome a health challenge or want politicians and others to know how an illness have impacted you or your family, let us know. We’d love to share your story.


Health care coverage:

  • Policies to repeal the ACA will result in Black women losing access to affordable, quality maternity care, preventative services, and other essential health benefits. These policies could result in more Black women dying or suffering from avoidable diseases and conditions, going without necessary health care, or incurring significant medical debt.

Maternal Health

  • Policies to improve the maternal health outcomes experienced by Black women. Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications and 3-4 times more likely to suffer from severe disability resulting from childbirth compared to White women. These policies will improve the preconception health of Black women, as well as prevent the avoidable deaths of thousands of pregnant Black women.


Breast Cancer
New York State and Texas private insurers must cover 3-D mammograms with no out-of-pocket costs (regulation, A. 5677, HB 1036).

  • New York State regulation: (February 2017) Insurers must cover medically necessary 3-D mammograms without co-pays, coinsurance or deductibles.
  • • Nationally, 6,063 Black women died from breast cancer in 2013. Black women have a 43% higher breast cancer death rate, are diagnosed at a much later stage, have a higher incidence of more aggressive breast cancers, and lower breast cancer survival rates.
  • Black women tend to have dense breast tissue, which poses a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Dense breast tissue also makes it more difficult to detect breast cancer using traditional, older screening technology.
  • 3-D mammograms can more accurately detect breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, reducing unnecessary callbacks for more tests and late diagnoses, which are stressful for patients and increase health care costs.

Reproductive Health

New York State private insurers must cover the ACA’s 10 Essential Health Benefits, “medically necessary” abortions, and the dispensing of up to 12 months of a contraceptive without a co-payment (regulations).

  • • Black women are more likely than their White counterparts to experience an unintended pregnancy because they are more likely to have difficulty paying for and accessing contraceptives and abortion services.
  • When Black women have access to affordable abortion services and contraceptives, they can achieve higher levels of educational and career advancement, and reduce the likelihood of economic insecurity by the prevention of unintended pregnancies.



BWHI Statement on Delayed Vote and FBI Investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Statement from Black Women’s Health Imperative Executive Office: WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 28, 2018) — Today, the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) president and CEO, Linda Goler Blount released the following statement in response to the delayed floor vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and pending FBI investigation: “We respectfully oppose the appointment of
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BWHI Statement on Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

BWHI Urges Supporters to Express Opposition of Supreme Court Nominee WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 10, 2018) — Today, the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) is speaking out to oppose President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Federal Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, given his conservative and restrictive views on civil rights, safe and legal abortion, and access to
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Black Women’s Health Imperative Expresses Concern Over Supreme Court Nominees

IMMEDIATE RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 2, 2018) —  The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) joins with the growing voices that have expressed concern over President Trump’s nominees following Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announcement to retire from the nation’s highest court. Kennedy throughout his career provided the decisive vote on many landmark cases including Roe
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BWHI President and CEO speaks of “Year of the Black Woman” and Announces BWHI’s First National Black Women’s Health Agenda at Summit21 Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 14, 2018) –The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) joined forces with Planned Parenthood and Spark at the Blavity-backed 21 Ninety women’s conference, Summit21 in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, June 8, 2018 for a panel discussion on “Protecting Your Health Rights: Tools for Self-Advocacy.” BWHI President and CEO Linda Goler Blount shared the
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Black Women Will Suffer Costs of Senate Tax Bill

WASHINGTON, DC (November 28, 2017). Last week, the House of Representatives passed a tax reform bill that would dramatically change our tax system by providing large, permanent tax cuts for corporations. Now, the Senate will vote on its version of tax reform, which includes a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate, the requirement that most
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Suffering in Silence

Mood Disorders Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women of Color By Jamila Taylor and Christy M. Gamble  This article was originally published on the Center for American Progress website. Introduction and summary Pregnancy and childbirth can bring joy and fulfillment to a woman’s life. They can also bring anxiety, depression, and stress. If left untreated, postpartum depression and
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House Seeks to Pass a Total Ban on Abortions

WASHINGTON, DC (October 31, 2017) This week, the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss a bill that would require mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions and would prevent women from obtaining abortions as early as six weeks. Under the “Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017,” health care providers who perform an
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New cervical cancer screening recommendations put black women’s lives at risk

While we have made tremendous strides with the Affordable Care Act, black women in the United States are dying from cervical cancer, also known as “the silent killer,” at more than two times the rate of white women. Moreover, black women are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages with more aggressive forms of cervical
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