NTRN 435 Students Attend It Takes a Village: Improving Black Infant and Maternal Health

Dr. Watowicz and the 7 students in NTRN 435 stand around a table at a presentation

On Friday, October 21st, Dr. Watowicz and her NTRN 435 (Nutrition during Pregnancy) students attended the forum, It Takes a Village: Improving Black Infant and Maternal Health, at the City Club of Cleveland. The forum’s speaker was Jazmin Long, President and CEO of Birthing Beautiful Communities (and CWRU alum). Birthing Beautiful Communities is a community of birth workers, or doulas, providing wrap-around social support to pregnant women at highest risk for infant mortality during the perinatal period. BBC serves Black moms and babies in the Northeast Ohio area offering labor and lactation support, parenting classes, transportation services to grocery stores and medical visits, and postpartum overnight care.

Ms. Long offered an inspirational and emotional presentation; students reported that the racial disparities that she discussed were shocking and highlighted the need for anti-racist advocacy among healthcare workers. It also highlighted the need for proper nutrition before, during, and after pregnancy as nutrition can affect some of the leading causes of infant mortality. In Cuyahoga County, while the infant mortality rate for white women matches the national rate (5.17 infant deaths per 1000 births), the infant mortality rate for Black women is twice that (10.9/1000). In Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood, 22 babies die for every 1000 born.

A recording of the forum is available here, and you can learn more about BBC at: https://www.birthingbeautiful.org/