Fertility and Sterility August 2021 Issue Focuses on Black Patients’ and Black Physicians’ Experiences with Reproductive Medicine

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) flagship journal, Fertility and Sterility leads off its August 2021 issue on the reproductive health experiences of Black patients and Black physicians. Systemic racism has had an impact, and ripple effect, on patients seeking infertility treatments, as well as reproductive health trainees and professionals.

“Black men and women experience many health conditions differently from their white counterparts,” said ASRM vice president and chair of the organization’s DEI Task Force Michael Thomas, M.D. “That’s why it is important to ASRM to ensure we are inclusive in our efforts to educate physicians and patients about reproductive health. This issue of Fertility and Sterility showcases four expert authors whose articles provide first-hand experience and insights that not only ensure Black physicians and patients are seen and understood, the articles serve as important education for our colleagues in the profession,” he added.

Three of the feature articles in this issue are the authors’ first-hand perspectives on racism’s effect on the academic and professional pipeline of reproductive health professionals, family-building health disparities in the United States, and access to infertility treatment.

Noted below are the four feature articles with brief descriptions:

The African American experience in reproductive medicine: provider, patient, and pipeline perspectives

Richard S. Legro, M.D.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health Sciences, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania

-- In Dr. Legro’s introduction to the August issue, he writes about the importance of Black voices telling the stories of Black patients and professionals, and provides a narrative overview of the following three articles.

Making an African American REI physician: a story of mentorship

Michael A. Thomas, M.D.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio

-- Match day for residency programs has become a celebratory event across social media, with more diversity and inclusion than in previous years. Dr. Thomas writes about how things have changed or gotten even more challenging since his time as a medical student in the 1980s. He provides a play-by-play of his residency matching experience all the way up to his role now as a tenured professor and incoming president of ASRM.

Health disparities of African Americans in reproductive medicine

Samantha F. Butts, MD MSCE
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

-- Dr. Butts discusses the lack of access to infertility treatments for Black women and men, and overall racial disparities in reproductive health care. She recommends enhanced training to ensure reproductive disorders in Black patients are discovered sooner.

The pipeline problem: barriers to access of Black patients and providers in reproductive medicine

Gloria Richard-Davis, MD, MBA, NCMP
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Division of Diversity of Equity and Inclusion, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas

-- Implicit bias is a legitimate concern in medicine, and Dr. Richard-Davis outlines the many places along the academic and professional pipeline that must be bolstered with educational efforts to address systemic racism from fellowship to mentorship.


“In an ongoing effort to ensure diversity of experience, expertise, authorship, and points of view, the August issue is one that will stick in readers’ minds and will elevate the need for our profession to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” said Kurt Barnhart, M.D. MSCE, Editor-in-Chief of Fertility and Sterility. “In my inaugural journal as editor of the journal, I’m thankful for our contributors and authors, and I look forward to robust discussion and problem solving on these topics,” he added.

The ASRM Bulletin is published by ASRM's Office of Public Affairs to inform Society members of important recent developments. Republication or any other use of the contents of the Bulletin without permission is prohibited. To request permission to quote or excerpt material from the Bulletin, contact Sean Tipton at stipton@asrm.org.   

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Email: stipton@asrm.org

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