Social determinants of health are the economic and social conditions that affect health outcomes and are the underlying, contributing factors of health inequities. Structural racism within our healthcare system is a social determinant of health that is crucial to understanding negative maternal health outcomes experienced by Black mothers. Black women in the United States experience unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes, including disproportionately high rates of death related to pregnancy or childbirth. Both societal and health system factors contribute to high rates of poor health outcomes and maternal mortality for Black women, who are more likely to experience barriers to obtaining quality care and often face racial discrimination throughout their lives.[1]

On Friday, September 25, we heard from experts about the ways structural racism in the healthcare system impact maternal health outcomes for Black women, how social isolation and loneliness impact Black mothers, and ways to get involved in the conversation and create a more equitable healthcare system.

Moderator: Asha Hassan, Associate Research Manager at Planned Parenthood North Central States; UofM Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration PhD student


  • Monica Jones, Founder, Melanated Mamas 
  • Chalonne Wilson, Momma

Panel Bios:

Asha Hassan is a Health Services Researcher and Epidemiologist focused on studying how racism impacts reproductive health throughout the life course. She is currently working towards her PhD in Health Services Research at the University of Minnesota while also serving as an associate research manager at Planned Parenthood North Central States. Asha is the Primary Investigator of a national study to assess relationships between tear gas exposure utilized by law enforcement and negative reproductive health outcomes. 

Monica Jones is a multi-passionate creative, writer, podcaster, and the founder of Melanated Mamas, a space that amplifies the unseen joy in Black and Brown Mothers. Her husband Brandon and she are raising their two little girls Zanella (7) and Audree (3), in Woodbury.

Chalonne Jones is a mother of two bold and brilliant toddlers, Zohar and Miryam. When she is not working as the HR & Organizational Culture Manager at Nexus Community Partners, a local nonprofit organization, she is spending time (mostly virtually) loving, building, and cooperating with her dearest friends and family.

Mind Opener:
Structural Racism in Healthcare: Impact on Black Mothers

Friday, September 25, 2020
Noon – 1pm (CT)

Our panel:

Asha Hassan

Asha Hassan

Associate Research Manager at Planned Parenthood North Central States; UofM Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration PhD student

Monica Jones

Monica Jones

Founder, Melanated Mamas

Chalonne Wilson

Chalonne Wilson


Citizens League Mind Openers, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, are deep dives into policy topics that affect Minnesota and its residents. The talks are an opportunity for people to learn and talk about a variety of different issues.