Annotated story

Storygram: Annie Waldman’s “How hospitals are failing Black mothers”


We all know—or need to know—that race intersects with every facet of American life, from the mundane to the momentous. Where you sleep at night, what you eat, where you send your kids to school, who you’re friends with: Whether you realize it or not, decades of racial segregation and inequitable social design have played an often-invisible hand in shaping the options available to you. Options are at the heart of Annie Waldman’s data-driven investigation into maternal harm at hospitals that disproportionately serve black mothers. When a black woman in America goes into labor, which hospital she chooses for her delivery—or where the ambulance takes her, sometimes against her wishes—can determine whether she and her baby will leave the hospital together and alive. This story, which won the National Academies Keck Award, is annotated by award-winning journalist Tasneem Raja, executive editor of The Tyler Loop. The Storygram series, in which professional writers annotate award-winning stories to illuminate what makes a great science story great, was a joint project of The Open Notebook and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. It was supported by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


CASW, The Open Notebook


Annie Waldman

Published By:



December 27, 2017

Annotated by:

Tasneem Raja