The New Orleans Maternal & Child Health Coalition
The Mary Amelia Center for Women’s Health published a report on racial disparities in Louisiana’s birth outcomes. This report was created in collaboration with several Tulane departments and centers as well as several external partners, including National Birth Equity Collaborative, Louisiana Public Health Institute, and the Louisiana Department of Health. Individuals from each of these organizations and institutions are current members of the Coalition.
The New York Times published an article highlighting racial perinatal disparities and the work of Birthmark Doula Collective, a member organization of the coalition.
Doulas are crucial to filling the current gaps in our obstetric and maternal healthcare systems, and can be especially powerful sources of support for the most vulnerable patients.
The policy brief “Advancing Health Equity in New Orleans: Building on Positive Change in Health” (download) was published.
Authors included Danielle Broussard and Lisa Richardson of Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, and Maeve Wallace and Katherine Theall of Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
The MCH Coalition held its first meeting at Newcomb College Institute.
Attendees included Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, Denise Frazier, Sarah Kington, Ashley Hill, Paige Guillory, Latona Giwa, Dr. Maeve Wallace, Nicole Deggins, Dr. Anna Mahoney, Dr. Clare Daniel, and Lauren Jardell. Represented member organizations were National Birth Equity Collaborative, Tulane University, Birthmark Doula Collective, New Orleans Breastfeeding Center, and Sista Midwife Productions.
Members of the MCH Coalition penned a community member addressed to Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the City Council requesting the establishment of a Maternal and Child Health Department to improve data collection and promote evidence-informed programming and policy.
Kimberly Novod, Dr. Emily Harville, and Valerie McMillan represented the Coalition in a presentation to City Council detailing this requested and explaining the benefits it would bring to the City of New Orleans.
MCH presentation to New Orleans City Council
Birthmark Doulas hosted the second Black Birth Matters conference in New Orleans. This gathering served as a space for parents, birthworkers, and other stakeholders in Black birth to come together and share knowledge and resources with one another.
Saul’s Light was featured on WWLTV. Quoted Coalition members include Kimberly Novod and Dr. Anna Mahoney. At the time this news segment was aired, Black infants in New Orleans were three times more likely to die than White infants. Saul’s Light serves families of all races who find themselves faces with the stressful experience of having a baby in NICU, or the trauma of infant loss.
USA Today published an article identifying hospitals with high rates of maternal morbidities. Listed in this article was Touro Infirmary, which has one of the busiest labor and delivery units in the New Orleans area. As a result, many community members expressed fear of giving birth. Coalition members were driven to form a collective response to the article and resolved to hold a gathering that would give community members the opportunity to unpack their fears and concerns.
Kimberly Novod, Ashley Hill Hamilton, and Dr. Clare Daniel presented on the MCH Coalition’s work for Tulane SPHTM’s Health, Racism, and Communications Series. You can listen to the presentation below.
Birthmark Doula Collective hosted Ain’t I a Woman: Survivors’ Birth in partnership with a number of other MCH Coalition member organizations. This event included a community forum on the USA Today article from the previous month. Community members were given a space to process their fears and concerns following the article, and provided with a Birthmark-created Birth Violence Toolkit that included resources for preventing and healing birth trauma.
The Louisiana Department of Health held a Maternal Mortality Summit for professionals involved in maternity care and support. As a result of this summit, 4 priorities for addressing maternal mortality were identified. You can read the Dear Colleague letter written by the summit planning team here.
Saul’s Light Foundation successfully advocates for the New Orleans City Council to designate September as NICU awareness month.
Sista Midwife Productions launched its Birth Story Project survey. This comprehensive survey is the first of its kind, meant for anyone who has ever given birth in Louisiana. Topics covered include site and type of birth, interventions and procedures, and experiences regarding respectful care throughout the perinatal period.
Dr. Emily Harville, Lakeesha Harris, Nikki Hunter-Greenaway, and Monique Hagan represented the Coalition at the City Council presentation on Maternal Morbidity and Mortality. At this presentation, the Coalition presented the City Council with 3 asks detailed in the one-pager below.
Dr. Clare Daniel and Hali Ledet were interviewed about the Coalition by Oliver Thomas on WBOK. You can hear the interview here.
JANUARY 12 – 18
The Coalition finalized and publicized our 7 core values, which are listed here and below.
Dr. Clare Daniel and Ashely Hill Hamilton interviewed with Amy Irvin, former execute director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, on NOAF’s weekly show ProFrequency,which airs on WHIV radio.
You can listen to the recorded podcast at this link:
Coalition members Dr. Pooja Mehta, Dana Smiles, and Dr. Maeve Wallace published an article in which an analysis of Louisiana’s most recent Maternal Mortality Review revealed that the deaths of non-Hispanic Black women were more likely to have been preventable compared to non-Hispanic White women.
The New Orleans Maternal and Child Health Coalition presented a white paper titled “Enhance Access to Quality Care: Eliminate Louisiana’s Collaborative Practice Agreement Law” during National Midwifery Week. The coalition advocated to end the Collaborative Practice Agreement throughout the whole week on social media and through word of mouth.
Our WaveStarter Crowdfunding Campaign was launched under Tulane University’s Newcomb Institute. The purpose of this campaign was to raise money to hire two Tulane University students to intern with the NOLA MCH Coalition.
Nikki Hunter Greenaway and Esther DeJong present the coalition’s white paper about eliminating the collaborative practice agreement to the Governor’s Women’s Policy and Research Commission
The National Birth Equity Collaborative, the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, and Birthmark Doulas collaborated to create a policy agenda to introduce in the 2021 Louisiana legislative session. Their one-pager highlights the issues the agenda tackled. The coalition supported the agenda by spearheading advocacy around this agenda. We built a list of MCH advocates and sent out action alerts to activists.
Read the one-pager here:
The MCH coalition created a video presentation on their white paper “Enhance Access to Quality Care: Eliminate Louisiana’s Collaborative Practice Agreement Law”. This is a short presentation highlighting why it is important to eliminate the collaborative practice agreement in Louisiana.
The MCH coalition wrote a statement on Dr. Princess Dennar and the Tulane University School of Medicine. This statement highlights why we need more Black doctors in New Orleans, and states how we would be willing support efforts to in medical schools and hospital systems to increase the number of Black medical providers and birth workers in New Orleans.
Read the open letter here:
Dr. Clare Daniel, a co-convenor for the MCH coalition, and Demetrice Smith, and CNM and member of the coalition, were interviewed during an episode of the “Pregnancy, Parenting, & Politics podcast”. During this podcast, hosted by Jeanne Faulkner, Clare and Demetrice discussed how lifting restrictions on midwives (eliminating the collaborative practice agreement) could improve pregnancy outcomes in New Orleans.
Listen to the podcast here.