Dr. Edith Langford, PhD
Edith Langford is a psychotherapist with four decades of experience. After a lifetime of experiencing ongoing medical mistreatment, she is working on a memoir about medical racism in our healthcare system.
Writer, Psychotherapist, Advocate
From a newborn mysteriously infected with osteomyelitis, to the shocking neglect of doctors after a shooting which took one of her kidneys, appendix, and part of her large intestines at the age of 9, to waking up on a gynecological operating table as a young woman, to the current saga of fixing shoddy dental surgery, Edith Langford has experienced the full and painful spectrum of American medical racism.
The writer, a Black woman, has her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Research, Statistics and Evaluation. She brings her academic background as an ethnographic researcher to her own personal medical memoir, as well as the larger story of Black women’s experiences with medical mistreatment in America. In this book, which narrates the personal and political scarring of Black bodies by the healthcare system, the writer brings together stories with a clarion call for truth and reconciliation—with resource recommendations included.
She serves as program director for Brooklyn Art Incubator, a non-profit focused on utilizing the arts to help at-risk youth. She has taught at St. John’s University in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as well as the College of New Rochelle, Graduate School of Psychology. Dr. Langford has also designed and evaluated national crime and drug prevention programs for the Department of Justice. She is also licensed as a professional counselor and addictions specialist in Alabama and New York. Born in Chicago to a family of the Great Migration from Alabama, Dr. Langford was raised in Cleveland and New York City. She is a wife, mother and grandmother, and lives in Brooklyn, NY and on the Gulf Coast of Alabama with her husband.
“I search and then I research.”
Writer, Ethnographic Researcher & Clinician
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC, LMHC)
Addiction Specialist (CASAC, ADC)
Clinical website: therapy.edithlangford.com
Edith is available for media interviews and as a source for journalists working on stories about medical racism, mental health, and related issues.
Can average Americans fix a deeply broken system?
Our systems of justice, education, politics, health care, and many others are systematically killing Americans of color. These systems were simply not designed—and currently do not function—to support the existence of Black and Brown people as human beings.
More American women are waking up to these facts and feel a compelling urge to relieve the pain brought on by their recent awareness of systemic racial injustice.
This is at the heart of Dr. Langford’s new book. Presented through often unsettling vignettes that put real names and faces to mistreated female patients of color and has social analysis and recommendations applied to each vignette by Black female medical and social science professionals; this book aims to help these women feel visible while also providing answers for those wishing to create true change from their living rooms and hometowns. Ultimately, readers will see that there is hope for a healthier future.
This book will be an insider perspective of how the health care system affects Black and other women of color and aligns with the narratives of titles like,
- Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, by Deirdre Cooper Owens
- Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson
- The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee
- Invisible Visits: Black Middle-Class Women in the American Healthcare System, by Tina K. Sacks
- How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
Dr. Langford supports a common belief that we all need to grasp and understand race-based disparities in the health care system as one of the main issues that threatens the success of our efforts to define, identify and end systemic racism in America. The writer is determined to tell a clear, concise, true, and credible story. One that cites what, when, where, and how systemic bias has been sewn through the lives of many people of color. She wants to put an end to people saying, “Oh my God, I had no idea.”
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Understanding Health Disparities and Medical Racism
We are concerned about the constant use of federal funds to support this most notorious expression of segregation. Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.
The issue of racism in health care is widely known in America. People of color experience significant health disparities in the United States. In fact, these health inequities have persisted for centuries, and they are only getting worse. This is due to the pervasive reach of systemic racism on Black communities and other communities of color. Healthcare organizations must act now to address these root causes and mitigate the negative impacts of racism in achieving health equity.
Here are a few resources that provide more detail about the crisis we face as a country.
Bias in Healthcare
Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH — The Impact of Racism on Public Health
Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, is currently serving as the Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer for the American Medical Association (AMA) where her focus is to bring a health equity lens to all that the AMA does. In this one-hour presentation she discusses how institutions have fostered many of the health disparities we see in our communities today.
Dr. Joy DeGruy Discussing Origin of Gynecology through Slavery
In this 4 minute snippet Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing” talks about the disturbing origins of gynecology in America.
“Say Her Name: Dr. Susan Moore.” Black Female Doctors Condemn Racial Disparities in Healthcare
Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, a family physician and former president of the American Public Health Association and Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative join Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! to talk about the now viral video of Dr. Susan Moore who described racist treatment by medical staff before she died of COVID-19.
What You Can Do
Upon being rushed to the emergency room one day for vaginal hemorrhaging, I was given an emergency hysterectomy. Nobody asked me anything.
Jane Doe: A Young Black Woman from Arizona Shares Her Story
I had been trying to get pregnant and was consulting with a fertility specialist who performed all the necessary test on both my husband and I. It turned out that he had a low sperm count, but I also had problems.
In 1986 at the age of 40, after I had just adopted twins, I began to suffer from very long and painful menstrual periods. I developed severe anemia which took me off my feet for a while.
Upon being rushed to the emergency room one day for vaginal hemorrhaging, I was given an emergency hysterectomy. Nobody asked me anything. I was just given a complete hysterectomy, ovaries and all, without any consult. Could my eggs have been frozen? Why was I not offered this option?
This story is all too common in our healthcare system and Dr. Langford knows first hand the trauma it can cause.
Following orthopedic surgery on her right foot at 9 years old, she and her family struggled for months to get attention and proper treatment for her foot that had remained in a plaster cast past the time originally recommended. Her parents’ efforts to advocate had fallen on deaf ears.
Dr. Susan Miller, a very young, blue-eyed, blond pediatric intern in the hospital would emerge as an ally and advocate for Edith. She approached senior staff on several occasions regarding her cast and reported back to Edith at the end of her shift.
Edith also suffered from insomnia and was very uncomfortable in that environment; Dr. Miller knew that. She taught her to meditate. She would tell her that she had spoken to the surgeons again or that a surgeon had said he was unavailable to meet with her. She would bring her favorite, Orgorki Polish pickles. She would tell her about her plan to approach them again until they came to change her cast. Without Dr. Miller’s advocacy things surely would have been worse.
Contact Dr. Edith Langford
Questions? Stories? Need a mental health expert to discuss Black health issues, medical racism, etc for your media story? Get in touch via the form below.