Birth Equity Nassau August Newsletter

The newest Birth Justice Warriors: Eugenia Woods; Brianna Burton; Stephanie Burke; Leticia Rios; Nellie Taylor Wallthrust (BJW co-founder); Samantha Klein; Krystal Henriquez-Osborn; Martine Hackett (BJW co-founder); Simone Toomer, Karen Hylton-McGuire; Shweta Parmar;  Sarika Kumar; Nicole John.

Hello Birth Justice Warriors and Advocates!
August 30, 2019

Birth Justice Warriors Training
Welcome to our new cohort! Successfully completing training in July, our new Birth Justice Warriors include nurses, IBCLCs, doulas, a physician, community members and educators. We welcome you all to the fight for safe births and healthy babies in our communities. Together we will make injustice visible in Nassau County.

Governor Cuomo approves the creation of New York State Maternal Mortality Review Board On August 1, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to create a Maternal Mortality Review Board  into law. This review board is tasked with “reviewing the cause of each maternal death in New York State and making recommendations to the Department of Health on strategies for preventing future deaths and improving overall health outcomes”, a press release put out by the governor’s office explained. 
The review board ensures stakeholder engagement from the communities that are most disparately affected, and the Department of Health will establish a community-led Maternal Mortality Advisory Council comprised of community organizations, public health professionals, clinicians and community members. We look forward to adding the voices of Nassau County women to the mix. For full details on the bill, click here

Birth Justice Partner Spotlight
“I wanted to create models of care that basically circumvented systems that weren’t really intended to benefit black folks. Actually, I’d go even further and say they were designed specifically to exclude blacks folks.”- Mama Hakima Tafunzi Payne, speaking to The Nation’s Health about the reason she started Uzazi Village.  Mama Hakima lit up our Birth Equity Breakfast in April. For full article, click here

Birth Justice Warriors in the Community:
The Birth Justice Warriors and our partners have had a busy few months in the community. Below is a sampling of some of the events we have participated in.

Chocolate Milk Screening: On August 2, the Birth Justice Warriors and Long Island FQHC WIC co-sponsored the screening of Chocolate Milk, a documentary exploring the racial divide in breastfeeding, told through the narratives of three African American women.

Martine Hackett, Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, Yadia Hinds (WIC), Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, and Sheri Grant from (Long Island FQHC) at the Chocolate Milk screening at Hofstra University

Black Breastfeeding Week: This year to celebrate Black Breastfeeding week, the Birth Justice Warriors held an event at STRONG youth in Uniondale to discuss the history, benefits and challenges of breastfeeding for people of color. Simone Toomer, certified lactation consultant, owner of Wise Womban Doula and a Birth Justice Warrior lead an engaging conversation and real talk about black breastfeeding. We were also joined by our partners from the Long Island FQHC WIC. Our event was featured in an article in Newsday about Black Breastfeeding Week events!

Cross section of participants at the Black Breastfeeding Week event.

Birth Justice Friendly Designation: In conjunction with the prenatal clinic at Planned Parenthood Nassau County and Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell medical student, Danielle Howell, a “Birth Justice Friendly” designation is being developed to implement best practices for culturally appropriate and respectful care. Updates coming shortly.

Health Fairs
We have been setting up our table and telling everyone who will listen about our mission to improve black maternal and infant outcomes in Nassau County!

LOOKING AHEAD…
• Conversation Cafes have begun! Conversation Cafes have been scheduled at the Uniondale and Roosevelt libraries…check out our website for more info.
• Grand Rounds/In-service presentations are scheduled this fall with clinical providers at Long Island Jewish and NYU Winthrop hospitals.
• The Birth Justice Warriors Listening Station is now live! If you would like to have your story recorded or know someone who would, contact us via our website
• Events are being scheduled in October for Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month and November Prematurity Awareness month. Stay tuned for updates.

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.

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