Inside the Imperative

The Black Women's Health Imperative (Imperative) is the only organization devoted solely to advancing the health and wellness of America's 19.5 million Black women and girls through advocacy, community health and wellness education and leadership development. Founded as the National Black Women's Health Project in 1983 by health activist and McArthur genius Byllye Y. Avery, the Imperative promotes optimal health for African American women across their lifespan - physically, mentally and spiritually.


For us, health is not merely the absence of illness, but the active promotion of physical, spiritual, mental and emotional wellness of this and future generations. Since our beginning in Atlanta, Ga., when we led the fight for a broader and more responsible reproductive health and rights agenda for women of color, we have become the leading force for the elimination of racial and gender-related health disparities for African American women.

What We Do

The Imperative seeks to improve the health and wellness of Black women by providing health resources and information, community health and wellness education, promoting advocacy and health policies, and interpreting and issuing reports on relevant research about the health status of America's Black women. We offer our members culturally appropriate tools and information to be an informed and empowered healthcare consumer.

It is the aim of the Imperative to harness the collective power of Black women by bringing together individual women and affiliated women's organizations together around a common health agenda. Utilizing its structure of affiliated organizations, the Imperative is well positioned to create new ways of working together to help establish a national agenda on health disparities for Black women. Our goal is to create awareness among our key constituencies, work collaboratively with our community in the sharing of health information and build the capacity of African American women to advocate for and secure the preventive care and treatment they need.

What We Offer

At the heart of our work is a comprehensive approach that is guided by a collective vision and a proven C.A.R.E. framework: