FREE TRAINING Understanding Systemic Racism in Maternity Care: The Voices of Black Researchers
Update: Public access to the June 2020 VBAC Facts Grand Rounds has expired, but the resource list and link to the studies remain available below.
The Grand Rounds is still accessible to VBAC Facts Professional Members. Membership is for perinatal professionals who are passionate about increasing VBAC access in their community. Membership enables you to easily integrate the VBAC evidence into your practice so you can confidently communicate the facts to your clients. Sliding scale available for BIPOC. Learn more here.
Normally, our monthly VBAC Facts grand rounds consist of recently published research relevant to perinatal professionals who believe in increasing access to vaginal birth after cesarean. But this month, we wanted to focus on systemic racism in maternity care by lifting the voices of the following Black researchers:
Lucinda Canty, RN, MSN, CNM is a midwife, teacher and researcher in Connecticut. Read her professional biography, listen to a radio interview with her discussing the importance of doulas, and look at her beautiful artwork illustrating the experience of being black and pregnant in the US.
Canty, Lucinda (2020) “It’s Not Always Rainbows and Unicorns: The Lived Experience of Severe Maternal Morbidity among Black Women”. Doctoral Dissertations. 2426. https://opencommons.uconn.edu/dissertations/2426
Karen Scott, MPH, MD, FACOG is an OBGyn and researcher at USCF. Well, really she calls herself a “dissident, disruptive, and recovering” board certified OB GYN and she often speaks up against injustice in obstetric circles. She is currently running a research project, The SACRED Birth Study, which looks to support community led change to find equitable quality improvements to end violence and gendered racism in hospitals.
Scott, K. A., Britton, L., & McLemore, M. R. (2019). The ethics of perinatal care for black women: dismantling the structural racism in “Mother Blame” narratives. The Journal of perinatal & neonatal nursing, 33(2), 108-115. https://doi.org/10.1097/jpn.0000000000000394
Monica McLemore, RN, PhD, FAAN is a PhD nurse researcher at UCSF who focuses her teaching and research efforts on reproductive justice for people with uteruses. McLemore was just featured in an interview discussing Black Maternal Health and COVID-19 and she consistently speaks out about health equity injustice.
Franck, L. S., McLemore, M. R., Williams, S., Millar, K., Gordon, A. Y., Williams, S., … & Nelson, F. (2020). Research priorities of women at risk for preterm birth: findings and a call to action. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 20(1), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2664-1
Shafia Monroe, DEM, CDT, MPH is a Midwifery, community organizer and educator. She is a founding member of many organizations working for change for black birthing people including Shafia Monroe Consulting and ICTC (now the NAABB). She also provides cultural competency consultation and continuing education for providers and organizations.
Monroe, S. M. (2020). Perinatal Disparities and Solutions. North Carolina Medical Journal, 81(1), 56-57. https://doi.org/10.18043/ncm.81.1.56
Ifeyinwa Asiodu, RN, PhD, IBCLC is a postdoctoral nurse researcher at USCF. Asiodu writes in popular magazines and academic journals about intersectionality and breastfeeding among African American women. She works with organizations like the Black Infant Health and Black Mamas Matter Alliance to center the experiences of black breastfeeding women.
Rutherford, J. N., Asiodu, I. V., & Liese, K. L. (2019). Reintegrating modern birth practice within ancient birth process: What high cesarean rates ignore about physiologic birth. American Journal of Human Biology, 31(2), e23229. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23229
Black Midwives and Organizations You Should Support
Racha Tahani Lawler at Crimson Fig http://crimsonfig.com/ venmo: @crimsonfigmidwife
Kimberly Durdin at Kindred Space Birth Center https://www.gofundme.com/f/KindredBIrthCenter
Jennie Joseph at Commonsense Childbirth https://commonsensechildbirth.org/donate-2/
Debbie Allen at Tribe Midwifery https://www.tribemidwifery.com/
Haize Hawke Rosen https://www.gofundme.com/f/arpb2y-black-midwifery-support
Rebecca Polston at Roots Community Birth Center https://www.gofundme.com/f/birthcenter
Equity in Midwifery Education https://www.equitymidwifery.org/scholarships-financial-aid
Abide Support Black Student Midwives https://www.abidewomen.org/abide-t-shirts
Black Mamas Matter Alliance https://blackmamasmatter.org/about/
National Black Midwives Alliance https://blackmidwivesalliance.org/
National Association to Advance Black Birth https://thenaabb.org/
Shafia Monroe Consulting https://shafiamonroe.com/
Sista Midwife Productions https://www.sistamidwife.com/
Sister Song Reproductive Justice https://www.sistersong.net/reproductive-justice
Please leave a comment below or contact me to add Black midwives or organizations to this list.
Book List (Links will direct you to Black owned bookstores)
Antiracism Resources for White Folks bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
Harvard’s Project Implicit https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
Backes, E. P., & Scrimshaw, S. C. (Eds.). (2020). National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Committee on Assessing Health Outcomes by Birth Settings. Birth Settings in America: Outcomes, Quality, Access, and Choice. National Academies Press (US). https://doi.org/10.17226/25636
Daw, J. R., Kolenic, G. E., Dalton, V. K., Zivin, K., Winkelman, T., Kozhimannil, K. B., & Admon, L. K. (2020). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Perinatal Insurance Coverage. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 135(4), 917. https://dx.doi.org/10.1097%2FAOG.0000000000003728
Feinstein, L., McWhorter, K. L., Gaston, S. A., Troxel, W. M., Sharkey, K. M., & Jackson, C. L. (2020). Racial/ethnic disparities in sleep duration and sleep disturbances among pregnant and non‐pregnant women in the United States. Journal of Sleep Research, e13000. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13000
Gupta, R., & Froeb, K. (2020). Preterm Birth: Two Startling Trends, One Call to Action. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 34(2), 99-103. https://doi.org/10.1097/jpn.0000000000000469
Jahn, J. L., Chen, J. T., Agénor, M., & Krieger, N. (2020). County-level jail incarceration and preterm birth among non-Hispanic Black and white US women, 1999–2015. Social Science & Medicine, 112856. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112856
Janevic, T., Zeitlin, J., Egorova, N., Hebert, P. L., Balbierz, A., & Howell, E. A. (2020). Neighborhood Racial And Economic Polarization, Hospital Of Delivery, And Severe Maternal Morbidity: An examination of whether racial and economic neighborhood polarization is associated with severe maternal morbidity rates and whether the delivery hospital partially explains the association. Health Affairs, 39(5), 768-776. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2019.00735
Johnson, J. D., Green, C. A., Vladutiu, C. J., & Manuck, T. A. (2020). Racial Disparities in Prematurity Persist among Women of High Socioeconomic Status. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology MFM, 100104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajogmf.2020.100104
Kim, Y., Vohra-Gupta, S., Margerison, C. E., & Cubbin, C. (2020b). Neighborhood Racial/Ethnic Composition Trajectories and Black-White Differences in Preterm Birth among Women in Texas. Journal of Urban Health, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-019-00411-y
Kim, S., Im, E. O., Liu, J., & Ulrich, C. (2020a). Maternal Age Patterns of Preterm Birth: Exploring the Moderating Roles of Chronic Stress and Race/Ethnicity. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaaa008
Leimert, K. B., & Olson, D. M. (2020). Racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes: genetics, epigenetics, and allostatic load. Current Opinion in Physiology, 13, 155-165.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cophys.2019.12.003
Riggan, K. A., Gilbert, A., & Allyse, M. A. (2020). Acknowledging and Addressing Allostatic Load in Pregnancy Care. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-020-00757-z
Shrimali, B. P., Pearl, M., Karasek, D., Reid, C., Abrams, B., & Mujahid, M. (2020). Neighborhood Privilege, Preterm Delivery, and Related Racial/Ethnic Disparities: An Intergenerational Application of the Index of Concentration at the Extremes. American Journal of Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz279
Tandy, E. C. (1940). The Health Situation of Negro Mothers and Babies in the United States. A Brief Statement of Health Status, Health Services, and Needs… US Department of labor, Children’s Bureau. http://resource.nlm.nih.gov/25922060R
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As a nationally recognized consumer advocate and Founder of VBAC Facts®, Jen helps perinatal professionals, and cesarean parents, achieve clarity on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) through her educational courses for parents, online membership for professionals, continuing education trainings, and consulting services. She speaks at conferences across the country, presents Grand Rounds at hospitals, advises advocates seeking legislative change in their state, and serves as a expert witness in legal proceedings. She envisions a time when every pregnant person seeking VBAC has access to unbiased information, respectful providers, and community support, so they can plan the birth of their choosing in the setting they desire.