The Los Angeles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative (AAIMM) today received the 2023 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize. The prize celebrates communities across the country where people and organizations are collaborating to build positive solutions to barriers that have created unequal opportunities for health and well being.
LOS ANGELES — On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris toured Baby2Baby in Baldwin Hills to spotlight maternal health crisis. This comes just after the White House announced a new blueprint to address the crisis.
Locally, there is a big push to do the same. Dr. Melissa Franklin, director of maternal, child and adolescent health at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, says Black women are four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications in the county.
Dr. Franklin and additional members of the AAIMM Prevention Initiative members were interviewed on Spectrum News;
“The AAIMM Initiative… is our work to address birth inequity - the injustice of Black mamas, birthing folks and babies dying at higher rates than any other race,” said Dr. Franklin.
VIEW CLIP HERE
The Black Maternal Health Center of Excellence, a part of Charles R. Drew University of Science and Medicine, is working to address the issue by offering free and low-cost services to include prenatal and postpartum care.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL SPECTRUM INTERVIEW
What does it mean to truly love your fellow man? As February is not only Black History Month, but also the month in which we celebrate Valentine's Day, we dove a little deeper into the meaning of love. The Greek word, "philia," translates to "brotherly love." Of the four types of love described in the Greek, it is considered the highest form of love.
Brotherly love is the love for our fellow person. This is what the Village is to us: loving our fellow person, Black mothers/birthing persons and their babies, as family. Let's continue to hold each other as family while we remain steadfast in our work and celebrate each healthy and joyous Black birth.
Love also is a word that requires taking action. We’re inviting you to put “philia” into action by helping us grow the greater AAIMM village of support for Black families in Los Angeles County. You can do this by sharing our programs and resources with families who may need them, or participating in our programs if you are an expectant parent or looking for an opportunity to volunteer.
We’ve made it really easy for you to participate in growing the village by creating a text number.* Simply text the number below with the corresponding code indicating the program you’d like to receive more information about:
TEXT NUMBER: 323-745-2771
Doula Program: Text DOULA
Fatherhood Program: Text DAD
Newsletter: Text PLEDGE to take the Pledge to end Black maternal & infant births and to sign up for our newsletter (optional)
Antelope Valley Community Action Team: Text AV to learn more about volunteer opportunities in Antelope Valley
Santa Clarita/San Fernando Valley Community Action Team: Text SFV to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys
San Gabriel Valley Community Action Team: Text SGV to learn more about volunteer opportunities in San Gabriel Valley
South LA/South Bay Community Action Team: Text SLASB to learn more about volunteer opportunities in South LA and South Bay
*PLEASE NOTE: This number is for text messages ONLY and is not monitored for phone calls.
Thank you for being a part of birthing justice history by helping us grow the village to support healthy and joyous Black births!
We open on a seemingly idyllic scene of a Black mother giving birth naturally in a hospital — her husband beaming beside her as their newborn infant takes her first breath of oxygen, the music swells...but something is terribly wrong. The mother cannot move her arm. After some tests are run, it’s discovered that the mother has a lump in her thyroid. It’s stage 3 cancer. She must immediately begin intravenous radioactive treatment which will mean separation from her new baby (whom she’s named Pearl) and her husband for the next 4-5 months. So begins the April 20, 2021 episode of NBC’s procedural medical drama, New Amsterdam, which examines the inequities in child labor for women of color through the stories of three different Black women with three unique birthing experiences at the titular hospital.
According to its hub on the University of California San Francisco website, the SACRED Birth Study was designed to validate the first and only Patient Reported Experience Measure of OBstetric racism©, also known as the PREM-OB Scale™, developed in 2019 with funding from California Health Care Foundation and owned by Dr. Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, FACOG. The PREM-OB Scale™ examines obstetric racism, as defined for, by, and with Black mothers and Black birthing people, during hospitalization for labor, birth, and postpartum in six theorized patient identified quality of care domains: Safety, Autonomy, Communication, Racism, Empathy, and Dignity.
The site further states that the information gained from the PREM-OB Scale™ will help hospitals, health plans, scientists, funders, and the public better understand how obstetric racism and other forms of neglect and mistreatment affect the ways that hospitals provide care, services, and support to Black mothers and birthing people during labor, birth, and postpartum. Although the study officially ended on January 31, 2021, it was indirectly given new life and a new platform during the New Amsterdam episode.The episode was titled “Catch” and was written by staff writer Erika Green Swafford (@swptatopie on Twitter), who is also a Black woman, and was directed by Shiri Appleby. Swafford also served as a consulting producer on the episode.
Dr. Scott was tapped by Hollywood, Health & Society to serve as an expert for Swafford on writing “Catch.” Hollywood, Health & Society is a free resource to television and screen writers, connecting them with resources and experts on a variety of health and social topics. Hollywood, Health & Society also presented an open conversation on the issues surrounding Black maternal health on May 6 called “The Black Birth Experience: Challenges, Joys and Justice,” for which Swafford was a panelist.
“Thank you so much for another opportunity to support the amazing work @HollywoodHealth. Thank you @robertacruger for introducing me to @swptatopie. Congratulations in advance to the brilliant Erika and all the talent at New Amsterdam. I plan to watch tonight and apply @SACRED_PREM_OB to the stories,” Dr. Scott tweeted ahead of the episode’s airing. She went on to tweet during the episode.
After the opening, a young Black woman, Ydalis Fournette (actress Tiffany Mann), comes into the hospital because of an abrasion on her head, but is immediately assumed to be pregnant because of her size. Bloodwork shows that she actually is pregnant, despite the fact that she adamantly claims to be a virgin.
Capital and Main recently released a three-part series on birth equity in LA County. Our AAIMM Initiative is highlighted along with many of our partners and partner efforts, called “Black Infant Mortality: the Deadly Divide”.
Truly, there is much work to be done to turn back the tide of harm that over 400 years of oppression and racism in all forms against Black people has caused. Yet, we are encouraged by the our amazing village and the progress we have made bringing forth an unashamed, courageous and unapologetic centering of health and joy for Black mamas, birthing people, and families.
Please see below:
This week we launched Hey bb, a text message service run by real humans to answer questions about pregnancy, birth and parenthood — from how to advocate for yourself (systemic racism is real!) to explaining just what a doula does.
Pregnancy is a joyful time for many, but it's also fraught with anxiety — with worries about childbirth and how to care for a small human being. If this is you, or someone you love, LAist wants to help NAVIGATE the pregnancy, birth and postpartum phases of having a child.
If you would like to sign up for the service, text “heybb” to 73224.