“When you listen, you’re finding out exactly what you need to know.”
Sharee Livingston, DO, was born in an underserved community and she saw the impact of health disparities from a young age.
Health disparities are preventable inequalities in health burdens, health care access, and health outcomes in certain populations. Communities of color frequently suffer from health disparities.
Today, Dr. Livingston makes it a mission to address health disparities in her work.
“Every day, I wake up as a Black woman and recognize that health disparities are particularly disparaging against people of color,” says Dr. Livingston, an ob-gyn at UPMC in Central Pa. and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UPMC Lititz. “What I work to do is to eliminate those, but also work to help all patients that I see every day.”
Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. To address this inequality, Dr. Livingston co-founded the Diversifying Doulas Initiative (DDI). The program trains Black and Brown women to become doulas and provides free access to pregnant women of color.
“Every time I walk in a room with a pregnant woman, my goal is to make this a safe experience for her,” Dr. Livingston says. “A happy one and a pleasant one, but more importantly, a safe experience, because that’s the part that she and her family will remember.”
Dr. Livingston works to connect to all of her patients.
“Medicine is an art,” she says. “It’s not just about the biologic ramifications. It’s about connecting with patients, looking them in the eyes, and seeing what their needs are. And more importantly, listening to patients – because when you listen, you’re finding out exactly what you need to know.”
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means taking action to solve problems.
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