Young Black Women: Racism, Bias and Breast Cancer

Hollywood, Health & Society brought together health experts and writers/producers for a webinar that explored how racism, bias and a mistrust of the medical system all affect the outcome for young Black women with breast cancer, and the ways TV storylines can raise awareness about health disparities.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that people of color and underserved communities suffer the most when it comes to access to quality health care. The CDC reports that Black women are 40% more likely to die from the disease than their white counterparts, and although “health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality have improved for most Americans, some minorities experience a disproportionate burden of preventable disease [and] death.”

Watch the webinar


ZOANNE CLACK, M.D., MPH—Dr. Clack, who was the discussion moderator, is a writer and executive producer on the award-winning hit ABC medical series Grey’s Anatomy. She currently serves as co-chair of Hollywood, Health & Society’s advisory board.

ANGELA NISSEL—Nissel is part of the creative team of ABC’s mixed-ish, a comedy that explores issues of mixed-race households. She’s the author of the best-selling comedic memoir The Broke Diaries, about her financial struggles in college, and the critically-acclaimed Mixed, which chronicles growing up with a Black Panther mom and a very white father.

SHONTE DRAKEFORD, MSN—Drakeford is a certified registered nurse practitioner who was diagnosed in 2015 with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. 

KATRINA ARMSTRONG, M.D., MSCE—Dr. Armstrong is the Jackson Professor at Harvard Medical School, and physician-in-chief, Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

TEMEIKA FAIRLEY, Ph.D.—Fairley is a senior health scientist with the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control whose work focuses on areas related to cancer surveillance and data use, cancer survivorship, and program management.