Online Program

Black girl syndrome: An introduction

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:33 p.m. - 1:42 p.m.

Felicia Harris, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Su-I. Hou, DrPH, CPH, MCHES, RN, Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
“Black Girl Syndrome: An introduction” is a brief exposé of the life of one black woman in her never-ending mission of achieving success. Through excerpts from an in-depth interview and glimpses into one life that is representative of many, this video introduces key issues forming a cultural foundation that contributes to disproportionate levels of chronic illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, and obesity. Many practitioners view African-American women as a vulnerable population; this video hopes to introduce a mechanism to vulnerability (what the researcher has coined Black Girl Syndrome, or BGS) that may be overlooked or undervalued in the larger understanding of how health disparities emerge in black women. Mental health is often an overlooked area of women's health care, and especially so in the case of black women. For black women, the overlooking may be attributed to health care providers, or, to an overwhelming urge to avoid addressing the constant stress of everyday life. While black women consistently report higher rates of several chronic conditions, they are also least likely to report depression and anxiety when compared to white and Latina women. This introduction to BGS explores how issues with stress management, goal setting, and the impact of gender and/or race stereotypes join with avoidance of health concerns and personal care to place black women at a heightened risk for destructive health outcomes. This video provides access to beliefs, thoughts and emotions that may be maintained by black women, and which may serve as an alternate viewpoint for researchers and practitioners to consider when working toward addressing black women's health vulnerabilities.

"Black Girl Syndrome: An Introduction" can be viewed here:

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Identify the work ethic and beliefs that contribute to overexertion in black women. Evaluate the pressures and social norms of black women that contribute to negative health outcomes. Demonstrate how Black Girl Syndrome or BGS may impact black women's health.

Keyword(s): African American, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm the co-author of the project and have provided guidance, input, and feedback throughout the project development process.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.