Research: Medical Outcomes for Certain Women Significantly Improve With More Female Doctors

Assistant Professor Kenicia Wright, Ph.D, is challenging perspectives through her research focusing on the interplay of race and gender.

The School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs faculty member’s most recent accolade is winning the American Political Science Association’s 2021 “Best Paper on Race and Intersectionality Award.” The award comes from APSA’s Women, Gender, and Politics section.

The paper examines the positive outcomes that result when non-Hispanic white women, non-Hispanic black women and Latinas are treated by women physicians.

“There is a certain empathy, care and understanding that comes with a woman treating a woman,” Wright said. “The medical outcomes for certain women significantly improve with increases in women physicians.”

The findings from her study that supports this point are improved maternal and infant mortality rates when female physicians are involved. Wright found a 25% increase in women physicians contributes to an 8% decrease in the preterm birth rates of non-Hispanic blacks and a 3% decrease in the preterm birth rates of non-Hispanic white women. There is also a 4% decrease in the maternal mortality rates of non-Hispanic black women and a 2% decrease in the maternal mortality rates of non-Hispanic white women as the percent of women physicians in a state increases.

“Through the research conducted we can conclude that women physicians have the ability to significantly improve the health of women in the US.,” said Wright.

Wright encourages students interested in following her footsteps to never let their fears discourage them from pursuing their dreams.

“If I could, I’d tell my younger self that she’ll have fears…but that should never stop her,” said Wright. “It is better to do things scared than to not do them at all. Failures are a part of every good story; keep walking in integrity, facing fears and helping others do the same.”


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