Birth Equity Nassau December Newsletter

Kira Johnson 39, who died 12 hours after having her second son Langston, the unofficial face for the Preventing Maternal Mortality Act

Hello Birth Justice Warriors and Advocates!

December 31, 2018


           The “Preventing Maternal Mortality Act”, a bipartisan bill that passed both the U.S House and the Senate and was signed into law by the President on December 22, 2018. This bill approves $60 million in funding, spread out over the next five years to fund maternal health review committees in all 50 states. These review committees will be tasked with collecting comprehensive data on maternal deaths, a process which is crucial in informing policy change such as developing new protocols to deal with the leading causes of maternal deaths in the United States. For more information on the new law, click here.


On December 10 2018, the New York City Standards for Respectful Care at Birth was launched. The aim of these standards are to encourage birthing women to feel empowered and to advocate for themselves during pregnancy and childbirth. These Standards also aim to create an environment where providers listen to and address concerns of birthing women. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene hopes to engage all 38 maternity hospitals along with community based organizations and clinical providers to ease the integration of these standards into their regular practice. For more on this initiative, click here.


Birth Justice Warriors was born on March 23, 2018, launched by Dr.Nellie Taylor-Walthrust at the Nassau County Birth Equity Breakfast.

Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust at the Birth Equity Breakfast

Since then it has been full steam ahead ! We have held two training sessions, with a total of 22 Warriors trained. The Birth Justice Warriors have also applied for and received grants from Hofstra University, New York State March of Dimes and most recently, the Long Island Community Foundation. Our organizational partners, North Shore Child and Family Guidance and Planned Parenthood Nassau County have provided support, wisdom and guidance from our first days.

First Cohort of Birth Justice Warriors July 26, 2018

The Birth Justice Warriors have also been very active in the community. Aside from the training, which included healthcare professionals and community members alike, We participated in the Prematurity Awareness Breakfast held by the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Good Beginnings for Babies program, and a health fair in Westbury organized by Fidelis Care. These were great opportunities to highlight injustices and spread our message to our communities. We also were able to spread our message across local media outlets.


In 2019, we will continue to make injustice visible by raising awareness about black maternal and infant mortality in Nassau
County. This includes:

Grand rounds and in-service lectures for medical staff at local hospitals and health care settings
 Creating and implementing a birth justice informed childbirth education classes in Freeport in the Spring of 2019
Partnering with a prenatal site in Nassau county to develop Birth Justice Friendly services
 Creating video stories that share the pregnancy and birthing experiences of black women in Nassau County as part of our social media campaign
 Partnering with other birth justice organizations regionally and nationally
 Legislative visits to advocate for policy changes to improve birth outcomes in Nassau County

Birth Justice Warriors Melissa Valeiro and Mechee Cherine with Britney Nathan at the St. Brigid’s Fair in Westbury.

We want to thank our Birth Justice Warriors and supporters as we close out our first year! We wish you all a joyful, healthy and strong New Year.

Spread the word!

Our fabulous logo is an award winner created by Jim Wagner of Certainly Studio in NYC 

The Birth Equity Nassau Newsletter is written by Tari Ajeh, MPH and edited by Martine Hackett, PhD, MPH.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Let’s partner together.


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