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Black Maternal Health Week Highlights, Examines Racial Disparities in Health Care

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Black Maternal Health Week Highlights, Examines Racial Disparities in Health CarePhoto via Flickr.
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Columbus is having its first ever Black Maternal Health Week BMHW, hosted by Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT). ROOTT, established last year, is the region’s leading organization focused on maternal health for black women and women of color. The week examines birth and pregnancy as a social justice movement through a series of events that centralize the voices of women of color.

The first event is this Wednesday, April 11, at Kenyon College. The Birth Justice Conference, featuring ROOTT Executive Director Jessica Roach and ROOTT doula Laurel Gourrier as speakers, will discuss the disparities in maternal health and health care. Each year, between 700 and 900 U.S. women die during pregnancy and childbirth, and black women are four times more likely to die than white women, nationally and globally.

That statistic can be localized, as black women who live in Franklin County are roughly three times more likely to lose their babies than white women due to structural and social determinants of health that include racism, as well as lack of access to healthcare, education, a safe environment, a strong social network, and employment. 

Participants in Wednesday’s event will explore “solutions to advancing the human right to safe motherhood and access to respectful care and health clinics that meet the need of all persons before, during, and after pregnancy.” The event begins at 7 p.m. Kenyon College is located at 103 College Rd., Gambier.

On Thursday, April 12, those interested can head to Northland Library at 6 p.m. for a Meet the Doula Night, where ROOTT doulas will discuss their work. Northland Library is located at 4093 Cleveland Ave.

Next Tuesday, April 17, is the final event, a screening of the 2017 film Death by Delivery. The film delves into that disturbing statistic that puts black women at four times the risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth. A discussion will follow the screening. It’ll take place at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, located at 700 Children’s Drive, at 6 p.m.

For more information about BMHW or ROOTT, visit roott.org.

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