Upcoming Events





A Planned Study on Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality

Natacha Blain, JD, PhD (she/her)

Senior Board Director, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Committee on Law and Justice, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine | Read Bio

2 PM ET/11 AM PT | virtual
Event Description

The National Academies’ Board on Children, Youth and Families is planning a study on Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality.  Natacha Blain, JD, PhD, of the National Academies will discuss plans to convene an ad hoc committee of experts to conduct a consensus study on reducing maternal mortality in the U.S. The committee will summarize the current evidence base concerning trends and disparities in maternal mortality. The committee will analyze and identify effective components of current policies, programs, and investments aimed at reducing maternal morbidity, mortality, and associated disparities. In addition, the committee will make evidence-based recommendations and identify existing gaps in research and data collection. The lived experience of communities disproportionately affected by maternal morbidity and mortality will be incorporated throughout the report process and development of the recommendations. In preparing this study, the committee will leverage and consider previous NASEM reports relevant to this topic (e.g., Advancing Maternal Health Equity and Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality: Proceedings of a Workshop (2021); Nutrition During Pregnancy and Lactation: Exploring New Evidence: Proceedings of a Workshop (2020); Birth Settings in America: Outcomes, Quality, Access, and Choice (2020); Vibrant and Healthy Kids: Aligning Science, Practice, and Policy to Advance Health Equity (2019)).

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Knowledge Builds Community Trust

Kay Matthews

Founder, Shades of Blue Project | Read Bio

2 PM ET/11 AM PT | virtual
Event Description

Join us for an enlightening presentation titled ‘Knowledge Builds Community Trust,’ where we will spotlight the transformative efforts of the Shades of Blue Project. This session is dedicated to showcasing the project’s dedication to addressing and bridging the disparities in maternal mental health specifically for Black mothers and birthing persons. Discover how the power of knowledge and community-centric approaches can foster trust, support, and empower those affected by these disparities. Learn about the innovative strategies, resources, and programs implemented by the Shades of Blue Project to enhance mental health outcomes and ensure that every mother and birthing person receives the care and support they deserve. Together, we can build a foundation of trust and understanding that uplifts and supports our communities through the power of informed action.




Realizing the Transformational Potential of Maternity Care Payment Reform

Carol Sakala

Senior Director for Maternal Health, National Partnership for Women & Families | Read Bio

2 PM ET/11 AM PT | virtual
Event Description

Leveraging payment is an important strategy in the quest for maternal-newborn health equity and excellence. As maternity care alternative payment models (APMs) incorporate elements of accountability and have been operating in the United States for more than 15 years, Carol Sakala and Megan Burns carried out a landscape study to develop a snapshot of where maternity care APMs stand and what has been achieved. The work, which includes two February 2024 reports, is based on structured interviews with birth justice leaders, APM program managers, and payment reform thought leaders. This presentation will discuss the approach to this study, key findings, and recommendations for more effective maternity care APMs. The lessons can be used to strengthen the proposals and programs of state Medicaid agencies that will participate in the new 10-year CMS Innovation Center Transforming Maternal Health (TMaH) model. The presentation will also discuss TMaH and opportunities for funder engagement in strengthening states’ maternal health infrastructure.




Empowering Birth: Understanding the Vital Role of Doula Organizations, Strategies for Sustainable Support

Marna Armstead

Co-founder, and Executive Director, SisterWeb | Read Bio

2 PM ET/11 AM PT | virtual
Event Description

Dive into the Heart of Doula Organizations: Join SisterWeb’s Co-founders for an illuminating discussion on the invaluable contributions of doula organizations in community-based care. Explore the triumphs and trials of funding these vital hubs and uncover the impact of Medicaid reimbursements on fostering culturally congruent support for community-based doulas. Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your understanding and support for sustainable, impactful doula work.




The Black Midwives Care© model

Jamarah Amani

Southern Birth Justice Network, Midwife, Executive Director, Florida | Read Bio

2 PM ET/11 AM PT | virtual
Event Description

Research shows us consistently that the specificity of the Black experience in America has implications for perinatal outcomes. Implicit bias trainings do not go far enough. Black pregnant people and families need health care providers to utilize an anti- racist approach to care delivery. The historical exploitation and abuse of Black folks in the medical industrial complex, especially obstetric violence, has to be dismantled in order to achieve equity. There is a dire need for respectful, anti-racist care grounded in an understanding of Birth Justice, in the traditions of Black midwives.  The Black Midwives Care© model is designed to meet the social needs of pregnant, birthing, and postpartum Black mothers/parents. Black Midwives Care© is a liberation-focused model developed by Black midwife Jamarah Amani, centered on Black mamas and families. Black Midwives Care is composed of some of the essential elements that Black midwives have provided to their communities for many generations and includes understanding the impact of race, incorporating cultural elements, connecting with holistic care and, being an advocate.




Midwifery Learning Series: Midwifery as a Key Strategy to Optimize Birth Outcomes for All

Dr. P. Mimi Niles

Assistant Professor, Rory Meyers College of Nursing | Read Bio

 1-2:30 PM ET/10-11:30 AM PT | virtual
Event Description

Midwives, incorporated fully in U.S. maternity care systems, could reduce perinatal health disparities and help address provider workforce shortages.

— The Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief How Expanding the Role of Midwives in U.S. Health Care Could Help Address the Maternal Health Crisis.

 Midwifery care is consistently demonstrated to improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and lower cost. Why then do midwives attend just 11% of births in the U.S? Dr. P. Mimi Niles, Assistant Professor, Rory Meyers College of Nursing, NYU is co-author of The Commonwealth Fund’s Issue Brief How Expanding the Role of Midwives in U.S. Health Care Could Help Address the Maternal Health Crisis. Dr. Niles will present on the opportunities of and barriers to expanding the utilization of midwives throughout the U.S. maternity care system. She will also discuss her continued work to build a facility-based midwifery integration scoring tool to understand and measure the ways in which structural and professional policies and processes serve to both prevent and enhance the integration of midwives in the care team.




Maternal Health Equity Collaborative

Kelene Blake

Executive Director, Black Mamas ATX

Morgan Miles

Executive Director, Giving Austin Labor Support

Nakeenya Wilson

Strategic Advisor to Funders for Birth Justice and Equity and co-founder, Maternal Health Equity Collaborative

2:00 – 3:30 PM ET | virtual
Event Description

The Maternal Health Equity Collaborative was formed in Austin, TX during the 2020 Covid 19 lockdown when hospitals stopped allowing Doulas to attend births. These leaders came together to create a solution in which Doulas could again support birthing people in the hospital setting. From there they advocated for the unique needs of pregnant people, especially Black and brown people, during Covid, by partnering to release the Maternal Health Equity Report in September 2020. The Maternal Health Equity Collaborative then achieved a Safer Childbirth City grant from Merck for Mothers and Pritzker Children’s Initiative and released The Spirit of Possibility, a report identifying the equity gaps in care across Central Texas and providing recommendations to fix them. The presenters will talk about the community-based leadership and strengths that, combined with philanthropic support, went into the creation of this impactful community-based Collaborative.




Birth Equity Funders Landscape Report

Rebecca Furst-Nichols and Alexandra Gertz

Afton Bloom

Betsy McNamara and Nakeenya Wilson

Strategic Advisors to Funders for Birth Justice and Equity 

2:00 – 3:30 PM ET | virtual
Event Description

There is increasing interest on the part of funders and donors in addressing the systemic inequities in birth outcomes and causes of the increasing maternal mortality and morbidity rates. To better understand the funder landscape Funders for Birth Justice and Equity engaged Afton Bloom to conduct the first Birth Equity Funders Landscape report. The Landscape sought to answer these three questions: Who is funding, what are they funding, and how are they funding. Fifty-seven funders and donors responded to the survey and in this session Funders for Birth Justice and Equity will present on the findings.

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