black maternal health week 2024 with an illustration of a black mother holding up a child

Black Maternal Health Week

Every year, Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17) shines a spotlight on a critical public health issue: the racial disparities in maternal health outcomes. Black women in the United States are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women according to the CDC. This week is a time to raise awareness, advocate for change, and celebrate the resilience of Black mothers.

Why is Black Maternal Health Week Important?

Black Maternal Health Week is a call to action. It’s a reminder that Black mothers deserve access to high-quality maternity care, free from bias and discrimination.  This week is a time to amplify the voices of Black mothers and birth professionals, centering their needs and experiences in the conversation about maternal health

What Can You Do?

Educate yourself

Learn more about the Black maternal health crisis and the factors that contribute to it by exploring books available through Lane Library including:

book cover
Battling over birth: Black women and the maternal health care crisis by Julia Chinyere Oparah, Helen Arega, Dantia Hudson, Linda Jones, Talita Oseguera.

You can also explore maternal health toolkits and data and watch relevant webinars on the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, an initiative affiliated with Stanford Medicine. 

Participate in Local Black Maternal Health Week Events:

Bay area events include:

  • Working towards Birth Justice: “Laboring with Hope” Screening and Dialogue with Santa Clara County Perinatal Equity Initiative
    Date: Monday, April 15, 2024
    Time: 12-1:30 p.m.
    Location: San Jose State University Library, King Library, 2nd floor, Rm 225 or online via Zoom

Join San Jose State University Library to view “Laboring with Hope,” a documentary “addressing the national maternal mortality crisis among Black women and birthing people,” followed by a discussion with the Santa Clara County Perinatal Equity Initiative about the powerful work happening in our county to address racial inequities in birth outcomes and birthing person outcomes. Access to the film is being provided by the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), Region 5. Register to attend virtually.

  • Perinatal Equity Conference 2024 (Santa Clara County Public Health)
    Date & Time: Friday, Apr 12, 2024, 9:30 AM-3 PM PDT
    Learn how implicit bias and structural racism contribute to disparities in health care outcomes for patients of African Ancestry, and how systems change can make a difference. Keynote speakers: Dr. Rhea Boyd (MD, MPH), Pediatrician, public health advocate, and scholar writing and teaching on the relationship between structural racism, inequity and health; and Lindsay du Plessis (DrPH, MPH), Community Engagement Lead, California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative. Scheduled events include a panel discussion on maternal health equity, featuring panelists: Alma Burrell (MPH), Chief Administrative Officer, Roots Community Health Center; Dr. Irogue Igbinosa (MD), OB/GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine fellow, Stanford University; and Leilani Michelle Jones, Executive Director, Office for Health Equity & Improvement, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Registration required.

Explore more California-based events on the Black Mamas Matter website.

Advocate for change

Explore the policy resources toolkits on the Black Mamas Matter website for guidance in engaging in advocacy work on this issue.

Join the conversation and share resources and ways to get involved in the comments below!

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