Black Women’s Blueprint has worked hand in hand in collaboration with clinicians, practitioners, doulas and midwives to meet the unmet healthcare and healthcare related needs of individuals, families and communities throughout New York State.
The COVID pandemic impacted access to health care, including maternal and reproductive health and rights. During COVID we continued to engage in our work to ensure equitable and non-discriminatory distribution of resources and culturally appropriate responses that deal with reducing relational violence -- including sexual and domestic violence and child-abuse that escalated during the quarantine.
New mothers are being forced to give birth alone or in hospitals without their family members or the doulas they had anticipated being by their side, live in fear of transferring disease to their newborns, and being given epidurals in triage as they check into labor and delivery to expedite unnecessary cesarean sections due to overpacked hospitals and maternity wards. Women who need the support of a doula or midwife in confidentiality about a birth-plan or safety-plan have been supported by our team of practitioners, either online or through a warm phone call.
To date, there are few local efforts to address what Black Women’s Blueprint has coined the “Sexual Abuse to Maternal Mortality Pipeline.” The charge is to be in necessary dialogue about our body sovereignty. The current state of affairs urgently calls for committing our work in three specific areas of policy, medical practice, and culture change based on the stories from the maternity wards, the OBGYN offices, and reproductive healthcare settings.
Safer Childbirth Cities Initiative: We are excited to announce receiving generous support through the Safer Childbirth Cities Initiative at Merck for Mothers. Over the next three years, with the collective knowledge and intelligence inherent to all communities, we plan to turn the tide on maternal mortality, morbidity, unsafe and disrespectful childbirth in Brooklyn through a “Designing for Equity” process led by community and facilitated by a multidisciplinary coalition. Through coalition-building, this strategic design process prioritizes safety in pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period; uplifting the rights of women and girls; ensuring bodily autonomy, and securing access to high-quality primary maternity care in communities most impacted by the overlapping maternal health crisis and COVID pandemic. In our continued and collaborative work, the organization, delivery and overall experience will center community values and voices, with Brooklyn families leading the way to re-envision what comprehensive, community generative care looks like for them.
Design for Equity: This project will design and manifest a primary maternity care model to realize the community’s direct aspirations. The intention is to articulate community values and perspectives to directly shape how maternity care is organized, delivered, and experienced to improve health outcomes while centering respect and autonomy as central tenets of care. The initiative will focus on the needs and opportunities of BIPOC communities in Brooklyn, NY.
Black Women’s Blueprint’s Collaboration with NYU Meyers School of Nursing: Black Women’s Blueprint works collaboratively with NYU Meyers College of Nursing to create a dynamic capstone program that exposes midwifery students to community based organizations, community driven solutions, research projects that are culturally and communally specific, and steeped in social justice. Our goal is to pair clinical leadership with community impact. The ACNM core competencies for basic midwifery practice (2020) that are addressed through this capstone collaboration include but are not limited to: Advocacy (through the lifespan, of physiologic birth), social determinants of health, underserved communities, integration of cultural safety into all care encounters, advocacy for health equity, social justice, and ethical policies in health care, development of critical thinking and leadership skills, diversity, equity, and inclusion, examines the influence of environmental, cultural, and occupational factors, health habits, and maternal behaviors on pregnancy outcomes.