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March 25, 2019

Racial Segregation and Inequality of Care in Neonatal Intensive Care Units Is Unacceptable

Author Affiliations
  • 1Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
  • 2Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
  • 3Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York
  • 4University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle
  • 5Inserm UMR 1153, Obstetrical, Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Research Team (EPOPé), Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics Sorbonne Paris Cité, Universitary Hospital Departement Risks in Pregnancy, Paris Descartes University, Paris, France
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(5):420-421. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.0240

Despite significant improvements in the survival of very preterm newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) over the last decade, significant racial and ethnic disparities exist for very preterm infants.1-3 While these disparities are rooted in a complex web of factors, a growing body of evidence has documented the role of quality of care in creating disparities. Black and Hispanic very preterm infants are more likely to be born in hospitals with worse outcomes than white infants after adjustment for risk factors, and differences in hospital of birth explain a significant proportion of the black-white and Hispanic-white disparities for these vulnerable infants.2 Additional research has documented that racial and ethnic disparities in quality exist between and within NICUs for very low-birth-weight infants.4

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