Florencia Greer Polite, chief of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, was named a fellow for the 2022 Carol Emmott Fellowship Class by the Carol Emmott Foundation.
The Carol Emmott Fellowship provides resources and mentorship to exemplary women in medical fields. In the course of the 14-month fellowship program, Carol Emmott fellows collaborate with senior executives in medicine to design impact projects that will serve their health communities. According to the Carol Emmott Foundation website, the fellowship is designed to further the leadership capacity of women in health.
The foundation selected Polite as one of 22 fellows for the class of 2022. According to Penn Medicine News, Polite’s impact project will be creating and implementing a curriculum for non-Black medical professionals catered toward racial biases in medicine and the disproportionate maternal mortality among Black pregnant and new mothers.
A 2021 study conducted by researchers in the Medical School found that residents in majority-Black neighborhoods are more likely to experience pregnancy-related health problems, such as heart complications, eclampsia, and hysterectomy, than their white counterparts. According to a Penn Medicine news release about the study’s findings, “the rate of severe maternal morbidity within a neighborhood increased by 2.4 percent with every 10 percent increase in the percentage of individuals in a Census tract who identified as Black or African American.”
Polite’s curriculum will address ways for non-Black healthcare providers in Penn’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Department to communicate with and offer support to Black mothers, target the perpetuation of racism in the medical field, and highlight the health issues that commonly affect mothers, according to Penn Medicine News.
In addition to her fellowship project, Polite has a history of commitment to seeking medical justice for Philadelphia's Black community. According to the Philadelphia Citizen, Polite, who also serves as the vice chair of Clinical Operations and professor in the University’s department of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, attributed the lower COVID-19 survival rates among Black Americans to the country's "long history of racism in healthcare.”
“In my Penn Ob/Gyn faculty practice, we have seen anecdotal evidence that the concerns of our Black patients with white physicians have been addressed with the help of education for non-Black physicians,” Polite told Penn Medicine. “Therefore, I’m eager to implement and test a curriculum in a formal way.”