Podcast with New York Times Author Linda Villarosa on “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis”

by Camelia Singletary, MPH


JPHMP presents Public Health Perspectives, a podcast series targeted towards strengthening the future public health workforce. We will explore the narratives of public health care professionals and gain insight on career paths that shape the profession. 

Linda Villarosa podcast

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In this episode, Linda Villarosa joins me to talk about the ongoing health disparities faced by pregnant African American women. This conversation stems from a New York Times article that Ms. Villarosa authored entitled “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis.” This article chronicles the narrative of a young woman, Simone Landrum, who was a victim of several disparities in regards to the care of herself and her unborn child. Ms. Villarosa brings a unique journalistic perspective to public health and social injustices faced by African American women.

Explore the following resources to discover a few things that are being done to aid in changing the way that we look at maternal health:  Linda Villarosa podcast

  • Birthmark Doula Collective: According to their site, they are “a birth justice organization dedicated to supporting, informing and advocating for pregnant and parenting people and their families in New Orleans.” They offer childbirth education, birth doula and postpartum doula services, lactation support and placenta encapsulation. It was co-founded by Latona Giwa, who served as doula to Simone Landrum.
  • Merck for Mothers: The aim is to “design scalable solutions that help end preventable maternal deaths.” Their work is centered around empowering women, equipping healthcare providers, and strengthening health systems.  Linda Villarosa podcast

For several years, Mrs. Villarosa edited the health pages for the New York Times, working on health coverage for Science Times, and for the newspaper at large. She was also the executive editor of Essence Magazine—two different times–where she has written and edited a number of award-winning articles. She has also contributed to articles, profiles, and reviews to a number of national publications, including Glamour, Health, Latina, the New York Times Book Review, O Magazine, Vibe, Salon, and the Root. A graduate of the University of Colorado, she also spent a year at Harvard University as a journalism fellow. She is the program director of the journalism department at the City College of New York where she teachers writing and media studies. You can read more about her at https://www.lindavillarosa.com/Linda Villarosa podcast


Camelia Singletary, MPH, received her master’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina in 2015. Her research interests include exploring the implementation of school physical activity programs in combination with nutritional components. She is also interested in analyzing the adoption of physical activity and healthy eating skills from a social-cognitive perspective. As a public health communicator at JPHMP Direct, she hopes to create linkages between evidence-based research, public health coursework, and health certification competencies.

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