A Racial Equity Initiative MBC

Calling all Black clients of Minnesota Birth Center – YOUR voice matters

MBC is excited to announce a racial equity initiative. We can’t do this initiative without your input. We’re holding a focus group for U.S. born Black clients in November. Please read on for important information about how you can participate! 

Photo by Taylor Wright on Unsplash

Why:

There are racial disparities in maternity care for several racial and ethnic groups in the US. Data continue to show that US born Black people have some of the worst birth outcomes of all racial and ethnic groups. The research is clear that this is due to the historical and current experience of racism. Racism causes significant stress on Black bodies and racism has been well documented in health care institutions. 

Due to these realities, we are interested in hearing from our Black clients. As a practice, we are committed to racial equity.  Already our outcomes in racial equity are much better than national trends, but we would like to improve even more.  Additionally we want to ensure that all of our Black clients have an outstanding experience with their care.  

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

What: 

A 2 hour facilitated discussion (live via Zoom) for US born Black current and past clients. This discussion will be led by a culturally reflective facilitator from the community who is not a MBC staff member. Individuals will be compensated for their time upon participation in the facilitated session. We will pay $50 for actively participating in the focus group discussion, with multiple choices for payment (check or gift card option). 

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Who: 

We are seeking participation of self-identified US born Black patients who have received or are receiving care from Minnesota Birth Center. It is not a requirement to have birthed at MBC or have been a pregnant patient as long as you have received care in some capacity, such as contraceptive care, an annual exam, etc. At this time we are focused on our own clients and are not seeking participation from partners, doulas, or other support people. 

While we intend to continue this work and conduct future facilitated discussions, this group is specifically for US-born Black/African-American clients. If you identify as biracial or multiracial but feel that your experience is closest to African-Americans, this group is also for you.

Photo by Larry Crayton on Unsplash

Where: 

To participate in the focus group please sign up by completing this Google form. The facilitated discussion will be hosted virtually on Zoom. To respect the privacy of participants, personally identifiable information will remain confidential and the content of the discussion will not be shared outside of the organization.  

When: 

The session will be conducted on Monday November 16, 2020 from 6-8pm. We ask that participants enroll by Thursday, November 12. Participation will be first come, first served. Once we meet capacity for the session, other interested people will be put on a waitlist and contacted if a spot becomes available.

Questions? Email claudia@theminnesotabirthcenter.com

Sign up here


Further reading on racial disparities in maternal newborn care and outcomes:

Why Racial Gaps in Maternal Mortality PersistNPR, 2019
Article Takeaway: NPR examines the “implicit racial bias in healthcare” and underlying disparities in pregnancy-related preventable deaths. Some ways this has been explained include variations in the rates of underlying chronic conditions and differences in hospital quality. However, there is increasing evidence to suggest that racism, more than race, is the cause of these disparities in healthcare.

Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death CrisisNew York Times, 2018
Article Takeaway: The New York Times guides readers through the story of Simone Landrum, a Black woman whose third pregnancy ended in stillbirth despite ignored warning signs throughout and missed opportunities for possible intervention. Landrum ultimately gave birth to a healthy baby boy the following year, guided through an entirely different experience of pregnancy with the help of a doula advocating for her needs. 

This article evaluates the crisis of higher rates of infant and maternal mortality for Black women regardless of financial status or education. It is clear that “For black women in America, an inescapable atmosphere of societal and systemic racism can create a kind of toxic physiological stress, resulting in conditions…that lead directly to higher rates of infant and maternal death.” 

Eliminating Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Mortality – Center for American Progress, 2019
Article Takeaway: In this report, read a blueprint that authors put forward to address disparities and preventable deaths in infant and maternal health outcomes that are rooted in the structural racism of healthcare. Recommendations include detailed steps to improving access to critical services, improving the quality of care to pregnant women, addressing maternal and infant mental health, enhancing support for families before and after birth, and improving data collection and oversight. 

Why Black Women Face More Health Risks Before, During and After PregnancyBoston University, 2019
Article Takeaway: Boston University researchers examine intergenerational and chronic stress as a result of racism in healthcare leading to increased risk of preventable death for Black women in pregnancy in the United States. This article discusses the need to care for women throughout the lifespan and even prior to conception rather than solely focusing on care during pregnancy. The article ends with a cautiously optimistic “dream [that] we have a system where we help women through all stages of their life cycle, and a system committed to dismantling systemic and institutional racism and implicit bias inside the healthcare system and outside.”

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