March 19, 2019
Meet Natalie Burke - LamazeLIVE Presenter Speaking on Equity in Maternal Health
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
The 2019 LamazeLive! conference is happening in Pittsburgh, PA on April 11th through 13th, 2019. At this event, perinatal professionals will be gathering in order to connect, learn and re-energize with our colleagues. Plenty of contact hour opportunities for certification renewal are available and an exhibit hall full of vendors with new and interesting products are waiting to be explored. The LamazeLIVE! format means that presentations are fast-paced, dynamic and jam-packed with information that is important to you and the families you work with. Early-bird registration ends March 8th, so don't delay in signing up so you can save on costs. Register today!
Virtual attendance is totally possible if traveling to Pittsburgh is not an option for you. Please consider signing up for the virtual portion of the event. LamazeLIVE! can come directly to you wherever you are. More info on attending virtually here.
Throughout the next weeks, Science & Sensibility will highlight some of the scheduled presenters and provide a sneak peek into their chosen topic. Today we meet Natalie Burke, President, and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION, who will be presenting "Get Uncomfortable: Equity in Maternal Health." CommonHealth ACTION develops people and organizations to produce health through equitable policies, programs, and practices. Natalie's presentation will introduce activities and discussion on equity, diversity, and inclusion; the production of maternity health; and the equity lens.
Sharon Muza: Why is it okay for white people and allies to be uncomfortable when they start to do this important work?
Natalie Burke: Not only is it okay for white people and allies to be uncomfortable engaging in work and discussions about inequities and racism, it is necessary. Discomfort is a precursor to any relevant change and although it can be scary, it is temporary and survivable.
Usually, the discomfort experienced by white allies comes from a heightened awareness of their privilege; common misunderstandings regarding the very origins of privilege; increasing clarity about their role in societal inequities; fear that they may need to give up something; the misperception that their privilege is also a mark of bad character or that they never worked hard; and the realization that their good intentions do not always manifest as fair or even adequate impacts for people experiencing the greatest inequities. Amidst all of that, white allies have to question how they benefit from a status quo that privileges them while oppressing others and they have to decide every day how to use their privilege as a tool, not a weapon.
From my perspective, it is critical that we create space for constructive discomfort as opposed to perpetuating destructive discomfort that encourages white allies to escape into behaviors typical of white fragility. Without going into it too deeply here, social advantage and social disadvantage are critical parts of this discussion and this work. It isn’t only about privilege and oppression. Lastly, it is hard for good people to accept that they too have implicit bias, in-group bias, and prejudice. The harsh reality is that when we swim in the dirty water of bias, racism, and prejudice every single day, who can remain clean? That’s why we all have work to do and that’s why it is okay for allies to get uncomfortable.
SM: Do you believe there is a misunderstanding among change makers that making policies and programs equitable is both difficult and expensive?
NB: Crafting, implementing, and measuring the impact of equitable policies and programs is often difficult and expensive, as it the case with most policymaking, institutional/systems change efforts, and program design. It seems that people balk when equity is the focus because it requires to look beyond traditional policies and programs and to get real about the current power dynamics – opening up the possibility that power will have to shift to become equitable. My experience with equitable policies and programs is that initially, they require effort, commitment, and resources – the level of effort and resources decreases over time. The commitment must remain in order for implementation to be effective and to have the desired impact on inequities.
SM: Why is it important to talk to perinatal professionals about the importance of supporting low-resource families with programs and resources that matter during pregnancy (or even pre-conception) instead of waiting for the babies to arrive?
NB: Based on their proximity to women and the intimacy of their relationships with women, perinatal professionals are uniquely positioned to support women at all phases of their reproductive journey and to understand their “whole life” context, Pre-conception is the best possible time to create conditions that support good health at conception, successful birth experiences, and optimal birth outcomes. Effectively addressing resource inequities and social determinants of health (e.g., housing, education, transportation, employment, access to care, access to technology, etc.) reduces stress, supports access to quality pre-natal care, supports improved socioeconomic status, supports healthy families, and leads mothers and babies on their journey to good health and quality of life.
TagsProfessional Resources Maternal Infant Care CommonHealth ACTION Natalie S. Burke Sharon Muza LamazeLIVE! 2019 Equity