Two national nonprofit organizations known for their advocacy work for women and families are partnering to address disparities in Black maternal health and provide
solutions to close the gap.
The Preeclampsia Foundation and Black Women for Positive Change are co-hosting the live Zoom event, “Changing the Narrative: Examining Black Maternal Health through the Lens of Advocacy and Non-Violence,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, in recognition of October as the Month of Non-Violence, Families, Voters Rights, and Opportunities. The free webinar includes invited healthcare providers, community leaders, patient advocates, and other experts discussing strategies to help ensure more Black mothers and babies survive childbirth and the postpartum period. Registration is available via Zoom.
“This discussion is urgently needed when we consider the alarming statistics on maternal morbidity in the U.S. that disproportionately affects Black women,” says Dr. Stephanie E. Myers, PhD, national co-chair of Black Women for Positive Change. The organization is a multicultural advocacy network dedicated to “changing the culture of violence” by promoting awareness of de-escalation tools and methods, supporting de-escalation legislation on state and federal levels, and the main sponsor of
annual Months of Non-Violence.
“By arming pregnant persons and their families with knowledge and steps on how they can advocate for themselves in maternal health spaces, we are helping to curtail potential conflict in emergency situations,” Myers adds.
Featured speakers for the event include leaders from the Black Women for Positive Change and the Preeclampsia Foundation; Connie Graves, MD, MFM, Medical Director of Tennessee Maternal Fetal Medicine; Porsche Holland-Otunba, M.S., CLC, C-CBE of Reclaim Black Motherhood; Alexis Dunn Amore, PhD, CNM, FACNM, NYU Professor, Choices Center for Reproductive Health; Carthenia Jefferson, Esq., RN, Chair of the National Black Nurses Association; Valda Crowder, MD of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Patient and Family advocates Shakima Tozay, LICSW, PMH-C and Wanda Irving of Dr. Shalon’s Maternal Action Project; Sheridan Blackwell, MHA, Head of Systems Change, Partnerships and Hospitals of the IRTH app.
According to the latest report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during childbirth than women of other races and ethnicities. In addition, Black women are 60% more likely to develop preeclampsia, a life-threatening hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, with statistically worse outcomes, including being three times more likely to die from complications.
“Like Black Women for Positive Change, the Preeclampsia Foundation focuses on solutions, not restating the problem,” said Preeclampsia Foundation Director of Communications and Engagement Laney Poye. “We take an evidence-based, multi-level approach that includes national, local, and individual action to address preeclampsia and its impact on Black women and birthing people.”
“That is why the webinar on Oct. 19 is so important. We have assembled a panel of speakers who will bring different perspectives on Black Maternal Health to the discussion that adds to real, actionable ways we can transform care and improve outcomes,” Poye said. The Preeclampsia Foundation is currently amplifying the voices of Black moms and their birth experiences in research on the disorder through its Take 10 for Preeclampsia Research campaign. The initiative urges women to take 10 minutes to sign up for the Preeclampsia Registry and add their pregnancy experience to preeclampsia research efforts. Log on to www.preeclampsia.org/Take10 for more information on the campaign.
The Black Maternal Health webinar is one of several events sponsored by the Black Women for Positive Change during the Month of Non-Violence, Families, Voters Rights, and Opportunities. Visit www.monthofnonviolence.org for more information.
About the Preeclampsia Foundation and MoMMA’s Voices
The Preeclampsia Foundation is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2000 to improve the outcomes of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by educating, supporting, and engaging the community, improving healthcare practices, and finding a cure. We envision a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies. For more information, visit www.preeclampsia.org.
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