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4W Summit-African American Women Beyond Stereotypes


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"African American Women Beyond the Stereotypes: Mental and Physical Health, Resilience, and Sustainability across the Life Span”

The lives of African American (AA) women—at home and at work—have changed dramatically in the past several decades. Among these changes are: aging of the AA female population; increased labor force participation of AA women, particularly women with children; delay in marriage and childbearing; and a rise in the proportion of AA female-headed single parent families. These trends contribute to AA women's predisposition for chronic and mental health disorders, and influence access to health care and personal health beliefs and behaviors.

African American women’s health care is evolving to a model that increasingly views these women’s health in terms of the totality of their experience across the life span, including their expanded social and economic roles and the influence of culture, psychology, and social factors on their health. This biopsychosocial model of AA women’s health recognizes that health is the maintenance of psychological and social wellbeing as well as physical health.

Within this context, the African American Health Network focuses its efforts on perinatal health, as well as the health of women over the entire lifespan, including women's health care utilization; sociomedical risk factors; women’s experience of depression and quality of life, and the physical and mental health effects of these women’s multiple roles as employees, parents and grandparents.


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