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SMFM Consult Series #62, Best practices in equitable care delivery- Addressing systemic racism and other social determinants of health as causes of obstetrical disparities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define social determinants of health as “the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play” that can affect health outcomes. Systemic racism is a root cause of the power and wealth imbalances that affect social determinants of health, creating disproportionate rates of comorbidities and adverse outcomes in the communities of racial and ethnic minority groups. Focusing primarily on disparities between Black and White individuals born in the United States, this document reviews the effects of social determinants of health and systemic racism on reproductive health outcomes and recommends multilevel approaches to mitigate disparities in obstetrical outcomes. 

Key words: equitable care delivery, maternal morbidity and mortality, obstetrical disparities, social determinants of health, systemic racism