National Preconception Health + Health Care Initiative                                                                                                                                 Mar/Apr 2019
Notable April Social Awareness Activities: Get Connecting and Talking!

National Infertility Awareness Week (April 21-27) - Learn the facts about infertility, how to take action and support, and ways to get help HERE. Listen to stories and get involved online using #InfertilityUncovered .

National Minority Health Month  - The 2019 #NMHM19 theme is "Active & Healthy," highlighting the importance of physical activity each day to support well-being and reduce risks of chronic conditions. Get involved on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month - National Sexual Violence Resource Center has one of the best communication and social media toolkits out there! Click for content and ways to get involved in #30daysofSAAM. #SAAM19
is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on prevention. The theme, "I Ask", champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.

STD Awareness Month - The American Sexual Health Association is drawing attention to the importance of testing with the  #YesMeansTest resource and campaign. Young adults can enter their zip code for free, fast, confidential testing and resources near them. Click for their social media toolkit .

International Day for Maternal Health and Rights (April 11). Join dozens of global organizations in advocating that the United Nations recognize April 11th as the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights. How?
Preconception IM CoIIN:
Upcoming Webinars
March 27th - 1-2pm ET: Integrating Quality Women-Centered Care into Practice: Insights from Magnolia Clinic
This webinar features Jaci Murphy, BSN, RN, Assistant Executive Community Health Nursing Director, Florida Department of Health in Duval County. Jaci leads the Women's Health, Pediatric and Immunization programs and clinics.
She will discuss ways clinics and Healthy Start sites can integrate quality women-centered care into daily practice.
April 12th - 3-4pm ET: New approaches to patient-centered reproductive goals assessment
Dr. Sonya Borrero will share her insight as a physician and researcher on this critical topic then lead a discussion about clinical/practical applications for a patient-centered approach to reproductive life plan. 
These webinars will be recorded and archived on Katherine Bryant with questions.
April 4th, 3:30-5pm ET - IM CoIIN TA webinar,  Testing Part 2: Moving from Testing to Implementation If you have any questions, please contact or 888-239-2048.
Media Focus on Improving Systems of Care

Birth vs. Black documentary is coming soon. Infant mortality is still highest among Black families in America and is directly linked to racism and the racists structures upon which the US was constructed. This documentary outlines what those structures are and how they influence the rate at which babies die in this country. Click to watch the trailer for the upcoming documentary, and how to keep tabs on producers' work.

Have you read the series from the USA Today about maternal and child birth outcomes? Th ere is a nice overview and commentary from organizations and leaders in the  Twitter Moments  about USA Today's series  here . Listen to mothers' stories using: #1in50K #ProtectMoms #MaternalSafety. More from their #DeadlyDelivery series:
  • Hospitals blame moms when childbirth goes wrong. Secret data suggest it's not that simple, USA Today
  • How to report bad care from maternity hospitals, OB/GYNs when childbirth turns dangerous, USA Today
  • Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren't doing it, USA Today  
While news about birth outcomes and inequities surrounding Black maternal health care are raising awareness as a nation, it is important we are mindful about how we contribute to / drive the messages. Here is a great read about being thoughtful as we talk about women, their babies, their communities: Stop Telling Me Black Women Die During Childbirth And Start Showing Me How We Can Thrive.

Why We Need More Black DoulasHuffington Post and the Washington Post - A 2013 study found that doula-assisted mothers were less likely to  deliver babies with low birth weights or with birth complications, and they were more likely to breastfeed their infants. Many US cities are turning to doulas to improve the childbirth experience and outcomes. Read how cities are strategizing to train and support doulas.

Preconception Health Bi-weekly Updates
Are you signed up to receive the  CDC's bi-weekly updates on preconception and interconception health? The latest research, articles, new campaigns and resources will be sent straight to your inbox. Email  Cheryl Robbins  ( with "subscribe." A great resource for everything happening in the industry, across the country - and world!
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Centering Women of Color: Action and Advocacy in April 
April is filled with amazing awareness activities and opportunities to unite with groups from all-sectors to discuss strategies to advance health equity in the US. In this issue, you'll find some great tools to boost your social media outreach as well as consumer engagement resources, and how to stay on top of the latest research and conversations about women's health, health equity, and lifting the voices of Black women, mothers, and communities.
Get Ready for the 2nd Annual Black Maternal Health Week!

Black Maternal Health Week (#BMHW19) campaign and activities serve to amplify the voices of Black mamas and center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements. Activities during BMHW are rooted in human rights, reproductive justice, and birth justice frameworks. We encourage everyone to make the time to listen, learn, and share! 
The 2019 theme is "Decolonizing Research to Develop Meaningful Policy for Black Maternal Health."
Important note: If you are joining the online conversation April 11-17, be sure to use the following tags:
Listen, Engage, Advocate, and Partner with Women
Since the inaugural Black Maternal Health Week, we've seen a lot of news stories covering mortality and morbidity rates for women and babies of color. While these voices and stories have been lifted in national and local outlets, the policies, systems, and structures in place continue to foster inequities that can leave many women in dangerous situations. We are proud to see organizational partners, such as the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, ROOT, SisterSong, Black Women's Health Imperative, and numerous others, join forces to create resources and dialogues that address these issues. In this newsletter, you'll find some tools created by these organizations to support women in educating and advocating for themselves and their communities. 

As part of OUR effort to do and be better, our team at the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health has been listening to new mothers as they reflect on their preconception, prenatal, and postpartum experiences. What we heard has us begging the question, 
"If Women of Color Aren't Being Heard During a Crisis,
How Are They Supported in Daily and Routine Care?"
This is an issue that transcends fame, money, education, power....with the systems in place, many women are left to advocate for their health (and lives) and flag when something is "not right." In too many situations, those "red flags" are ignored. Even when a woman of color recognizes that something is wrong and speaks up about it, she is not heard or BELIEVED. If women are expected to fight for their lives during a health crisis, think about what their daily, routine care and preventative visits must be like.  The Black Mamas' Matter Alliance (BMMA) issued a Black Paper in 2018 that described the components of holistic care: Setting the Standard for Holistic Care of and for Black Women
Black Mamas Matter Alliance defines holistic care to include:
  •  Addresses gaps in care and ensures continuity of care 
  • Is affordable and accessible
  • Is confidential, safe, and trauma-informed
  • Ensures informed consent
  • Is Black Mama-, family-, and parent-centered and patient-led
  • Is culturally-informed and includes traditional practices
  • Is provided by culturally competent and culturally congruent providers
  • Respects spirituality and spiritual health
  • Honors and fosters resilience
  • Includes the voices of all Black Mamas
  • Is responsive to the needs of all genders and family relationships
  • Provides wraparound services and connections to social services
This BMMA  Black Paper continues with an overview of holistic care recommendations using a reproductive justice and human rights framework. From the Black Paper, you can read strategies to move your work toward achieving the following recommendations
  • Listen to Black women 
  • Recognize the historical experiences and expertise of Black women and families 
  • Provide care through a reproductive justice framework 
  • Disentangle care practices from the racist beliefs in modern medicine 
  • Replace white supremacy and patriarchy with a new care model 
  • Empower all patients with health literacy and autonomy 
  • Empower and invest in paraprofessionals 
  • Recognize that access does not equal quality care 
Holistic care for women of color and historically marginalized communities requires that health professionals take strides to understand the cultural and historical context and complexities. Recognizing and addressing i mplicit bias may not  change behavior, but it can allow staff and professionals to learn about their own position within the spectrum of advantage, privilege, and responsibility.

" The voices of Black women must be heard in individual care visits, in policy decisions, and in  the design of all medical interventions targeted for Black women. ( BMMA Black Report, 2018 )
Black Women's Health Imperative on holistic health resou rces

The Black Women's Health Imperative (BWHI) has created a holistic  Health Matters toolkit to support holistic health. Women can explore topics, such as accessing affordable health care, breast cancer, diabetes, mental health, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, reproductive, and maternal health. Each section discusses why the topic matters to Black women's health, in particular.

Centering care and conversations around women - in the context of her life, goals, and community - supports her in reaching optimal health and wellness for herself and any future children she may chose to have. 

Learn more from the Black Women's Health Imperative annual report, as well as holistic health resources in their "Health Matters" toolkit.

Advocating for Policy Change: 
A modern blueprint to address inequities

The 2019 National Health Policy Agenda, created by the Black Women's Health Imperative, will give the nation a modern blueprint for how to solve health inequities for Black women and girls. This work now needs the power of advocates, policymakers, practitioners, academics, and community leaders to move it to action.

Click to read the executive summary. 


Click to download the 2019 Candidate Report Card.


 Click to download the 2019 Report.