February 17, 2021
Champions for Safe Black Childbirth - A Spotlight on Black Midwives & Birth Professionals
By: Cara Terreri | 0 Comments
Black History Month not only recognizes the centuries-long achievements by Black people in the past, but also the notable work that continues today. In this post, we're recognizing those individuals who are making strides today in the area of safe and healthy outcomes for Black families during the time of pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy. The following list is just a small sample of the many Black midwives and perinatal health professionals who are working diligently and tirelessly to help Black families give birth safely. Let us know in the comments section who you see doing this amazing work and should also be recognized.
Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM
Jennie Joseph is a midwife, speaker, author, trainer, and founder/operator of Commonsense Childbirth, a Central Florida community-based maternity center where no one is turned away. Joseph also is known for creating The JJ Way®, a model of care to "eliminate racial and class disparities in perinatal health and improve birth outcomes for all by providing access to community-based maternity centers, owned/operated and embedded in communities of highest need." (Source) Despite having received worldwide recognition and attention for her work, Joseph remains committed to her original and most important goal: improving birth outcomes for birthing parents and babies.
Shafia Monroe, DEM, CDT, MPH
Shafia Monroe is a traditional Midwife, doula trainer, public health professional, cultural competency trainer, personal consultant, educator, motivational speaker, and mother. In the earlier part of her career, she co-founded the Traditional Childbearing Group (TCBG), in Boston, MA, a non-profit organization to reduce infant mortality through homebirth, training midwives, and prenatal education. Later, in Portland, OR, she founded the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC), the first US-based black midwives and doulas professional organization (now renamed National Association to Advance Black Birth, NAABB). Monroe has received numerous awards for her work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Midwife Hero Award.
Rebecca Polston, CPM, LM
Rebecca Polston is a midwife at and owner and director of Roots Community Birth Center in Minneapolis, MN. She is one of only a few midwives in Minnesota who is licensed for homebirth or birth center (out of hospital) births and operates the only Black-owned birth center in the state, and is one of a very small but growing number of facilities in the United States. Polston's practice provides culturally focused maternity care in order to improve outcomes for Black families in her area.
Jessica Roach, MPH
Jessica Roach is the founder and executive director of Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT) in Columbus, OH, a reproductive justice organization that helps local Black families find Black doulas and midwives, as well as other related services. ROOTT’s mission is to comprehensively restore our collective well-being through collaboration, resource allocation, research & re-empowerment, in order to meet the needs of Black parents & families.
Nicole Deggins CNM, MSN, MPH
Nicole Deggins is a certified nurse midwife, birth advocate, and community educator, and the founder of Sista Midwife Productions in New Orleans, LA, and organization that helps Black families connect with Black birth workers. They also provide education, training, and consultations for communities, birth workers, and organizations that work with families around the time of pregnancy and birth. Deggins actively works to increase the numbers of African American midwives, doulas, and birth advocates as part of her mission to eliminate birth disparities.
Demetra Seriki, BSM, CPM, RM
Demetra Seriki is a midwife and founder of A Mother's Choice Midwifery in Colorado Springs, CO. She has been attending births unofficially since she was 16. Through her practice and community advocacy work, she provides comprehensive accessible and equitable midwifery care to families in her community. Seriki is the first and only registered Black Home Birth Midwife in the state of Colorado.
Ebony Marcelle, CNM, MS, FACNM
Ebony Marcelle is the Director of Midwifery at Community of Hope, a Washington DC organization that works to improve health and end family homelessness. She serves on multiple boards and organizations, and has been recognized with awards for her achievements. Marcelle works to build culturally aware midwifery models of care specifically for under-resourced Black families.
Thank you to these and the many other Black birth professionals who have dedicated their life's work to improving birth outcomes for Black families.
TagsCara Terreri Black History Month Midwifery