Friday, October 12, 2018

New Nonprofit to Help Black Pregnant Women Get Adequate Care

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National nonprofit launches to address inequities in care received by Black women throughout the birth process

Washington, DC - A new, national organization has been launched to address inequities in the care and treatment of Black women and persons throughout the reproductive years. The National Association to Advance Black Birth (NAABB), an organization that was formerly known as the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), was unveiled within the national midwifery community by its Board of Directors over the last few months.

With a scope that is primarily focused in the U.S., and addressing "intersectionality" issues affecting multiple professions and stakeholders, the Board rebranded the organization to match its new vision, mission as well as its current and planned programming.
Dr. Abigail Aiyepola, chair of the NAABB Board said, "We look forward to working with healthcare organizations, policy makers, institutions, associations and individuals alike to authentically challenge the status quo treatment of Black women throughout the birth process.

The shocking statistics and realities of the dangerous care in U.S. healthcare settings must be addressed in systematic ways that go beyond diversity and implicit bias trainings. We need a true revolution in the care and treatment of Black women and birthing persons, which is currently being ignored and dismissed within many U.S. medical establishments, despite the numbers showing increasing fatalities and the serious medical problems in our communities across the country."

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NAABB's vision is a world in which Black women and persons achieve their full birthing potential and thrive during the childbearing years. NAABB's mission is to combat the effects of structural racism within maternal-infant health to advance Black birth outcomes.

NAABB's goal is to transform the national maternity system to advance the well-being of - and gain equity for - Black women and persons in the U.S.  A number of national reports and articles, including recent ones in The New York Times and ProPublica, are raising awareness of the far-reaching impacts of racism, racial biases and inequitable care towards Black women throughout the birthing process, regardless of income.

NAABB produced and recently launched a documentary, The Loudest Silence: Black Women's Birth Experiences, to highlight the impact of inequities in care. These disparities produce statistics such as Black infant mortality being twice the rate of white babies; and that college educated Black women die or almost die from childbirth-related causes at twice the rate of white women who never graduated from high school.

NAABB's documentary has begun being shown at midwifery conferences and other birth related convenings across the country; and will be used in healthcare settings as an opening to begin not just conversations, but training programs that address inequitable hospital care and treatment of Black women that is primarily driven by structural racism and racial biases.

"Legacy is important - both a legacy that was created for us to build upon as well as the legacy to come, based on the current times and needs of the Black women and persons whom we serve," said Dr. Aiyepola. "Our new name reflects both our history, Sankofa, and our future, where Black women and birthing person do not have to fear that being pregnant or giving birth to a baby may put their life at risk.

We're excited about advancing the support of Black women and persons who face issues that impact their ability to have a safe and healthy birth in which they are recognized, listened to, and treated with respect in all healthcare settings."

For more information on The National Association to Advance Black Birth, see, or contact

The National Association to Advance Black Birth (NAABB) works to improve the care and treatment of Black women, infants and persons to combat the effects of structural racism on Black maternal-infant health through: advocacy, research, educational programming, activism and policy change; equipping birth workers (doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, nurses, and doctors) and maternity health institutions with the practical tools and education they need to improve outcomes for Black women and persons; developing and supporting innovative models of care that are sensitive to the cultural and social needs of Black families; and partnering with organizations that are connected to and can help advance NAABB's vision. Infused throughout NAABB's work is harnessing the wisdom from African and African American birth traditions, which is part of its legacy as well as its future.

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