Birth Equity Nassau January Newsletter

Hello Birth Justice Warriors and Advocates!

January 8, 2020
As we all move ahead into 2020, we are grateful for your support. In March we will celebrate two years of education, advocacy and action to improve black maternal and infant health outcomes in Nassau County.
This edition of our newsletter highlights some recent news and research, our activities over the last couple of months and some of the activities we are planning.  
Expanding Postpartum Medicaid Coverage
Pregnancy related deaths include up to one year after childbirth. Keeping track of the number of these deaths is challenging in the United States, but another problem is that Medicaid insurance coverage (which covers half of all US births, around 2 million deliveries) ends 60 days postpartum in a year after birth.  A recent report from the CDC indicates that 60% of pregnancy related deaths could have been prevented.
Expanding Medicaid coverage to one year after birth is a bi-partisan bill that is making its way through the US Congress. This is a logical and evidence based approach to address the rising maternal mortality rates in the United States and we are hopeful that expanded coverage will be extended to all birthing people across the country.  
Housing Stability and Birth Outcomes
recent research study found that housing stability has an impact on infant outcomes. Unstable housing documentation is associated with adverse obstetric outcomes and high health care utilization.  In addition, housing and supplemental income for pregnant women should be explored as a potential intervention to prevent preterm birth and prevent increased health care utilization. This is important to consider here in Nassau County, where high rental costs and low inventory of rental properties contribute to housing instability for many pregnant people.
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.

For Prematurity Awareness Month in November, we presented on Nassau County statistics at an event sponsored by the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority chapter at Hofstra University.

With our partners; Planned Parenthood Nassau County, North Shore Child and Family Guidance and the Nurse Family Partnership program, we created a Prematurity Awareness infographic with Nassau County specific data.

In November, we presented a keynote talk at the Suffolk County 14th Annual Taking the Road to Eliminate Health Disparities Conference.  The theme this year was: “The Health of Women, Infants and Children…Reflects the Health of a Nation” and we were thrilled by the great turnout and feedback on our work.

Birth Justice Friendly Initiative: One of the pillars of our movement is to designate clinical and social service sites as “Birth Justice Friendly”. This designation is given to places where clients and patients feel welcome, respected, understood and are cared for in culturally appropriate ways. We are currently working with our first site, the Planned Parenthood prenatal services in Hempstead to identify best practices and areas for improvement, including screening and referring patients for social determinants of health (like housing and access to healthy food) and training staff on implicit bias. We look forward to awarding our first Birth Justice Friendly site in 2020!  There is already interest from the Long Island Federally Qualified Health Centers to enter the designation pipeline.

In December we presented a webinar on social determinants of health and structural racism for the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy’s statewide Moving on Maternal Depression project. This project aims to improve the mental health of expecting and new mothers to better enable New York mothers, babies and families thrive. We look forward to continuing our relationship with this important and engaging group.

We have partnered with the Women’s Diversity Network of Long Island on their advocacy on Health Equity and Maternal and Infant Health. We are collaborating with other organizations across Nassau and Suffolk Counties to create a Taskforce that will explicitly address the dramatic disparities in black maternal and infant mortality on Long Island. Stay tuned for upcoming events and meetings.

On December 16, Birth Justice Warriors founders Dr. Nellie Taylor Wallthrust and Dr. Martine Hackett were interviewed for the WRHU radio show and podcast Well Said with Dr. Ira Nash. The entire episode focused on black maternal mortality and issues here on Long Island. You can listen to it by clicking here.

January 18: We will be hosting a Listening Station recording at the Uniondale Public Library. Do you want to share your birth or postpartum story so that others can learn from your experiences?  We will be recording short videos at our Listening Station on Saturday January 18 from 11-1pm.  Click here for more information and to sign up. Our stories matter!
January 24: We will be presenting at the OB/Gyn Grand Rounds at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside.
March 19: We got accepted to present our work with Birth Justice Warriors at the Society of Public Health Educators (SOPHE) 2020 annual conference in Atlanta, GA.
April 3: Third Annual Birth Equity Breakfast. Theme: The Fourth Trimester. Stay tuned for updates.
April 9: In celebration of Black Maternal Health Week and National Public Health Week, we are co-sponsoring a talk by Kimberly Seals Allers, an internationally recognized expert on black maternal issues and author of the Mocha Manual series for black mothers. Kimberly will be speaking at Hofstra University at 6:30PM about how to authentically engage the community to achieve maternal health equity.
April 18: Women’s Diversity Network Summit presentation. Buy your tickets now! 
July 30 & 31: Birth Justice Warriors training session at Hofstra University. Application information will be released soon.

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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