April 13, 2021, 10:43 a.m. News Staff —The AAFP will host its latest Virtual Town Hall, “Striving for Birth Equity,” featuring an expert panel of family physicians, at 7 p.m. CT April 14 in conjunction with Black Maternal Health Week. All members are invited to attend that evening or to watch the event on demand beginning the following day.
Danielle Jones, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the Academy’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity, will moderate the panel. Scheduled panelists include
The panel on Black maternal health comes at a time of increasing concern about maternal mortality among family physicians and other health care professionals. While maternal mortality rates worldwide declined almost 38% between 2000 and 2017, maternal mortality increased by over 26% in the United States during the same period.
Research presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 80th Scientific Sessions in June 2020 indicated that in the United States, non-Hispanic Black women were three times more likely to have a maternal death than white women. Non-Hispanic Black women also were significantly more likely to experience a severe maternal morbidity event at the time of delivery. Other research showed that Black infants were more likely to be born preterm than white infants, and were at the highest risk of dying within less than 28 days after being discharged from the hospital or of experiencing morbidities in the time between birth and discharge.
The panelists will discuss a variety of topics during the Virtual Town Hall, including rural issues in maternal health disparities, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black maternal health and ongoing advocacy efforts. In addition, one panelist will share her personal birth experience.
Members who attend will learn how to implement clinical practice strategies that minimize adverse birth outcomes in Black women, better communicate the breadth of racial disparities in maternal health outcomes, and advocate for legislation aimed at reducing racial and ethnic disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity.
Members who participate in the Virtual Town Hall will be able to earn AAFP Prescribed CME credit.
Members who are unable to attend the Virtual Town Hall on April 14 will be able to view it on demand the following day. A Q&A document from the live event will also be available.
“Striving for Birth Equity” is the latest of several action steps the Academy has taken in recent years to raise awareness of maternal health disparities among Black women, as well as women with low socioeconomic status and women living in rural areas.
In December 2019, the AAFP Board of Directors approved a birth equity policy that officially recognized these disparities and supported strategies to integrate birth equity into the delivery of family-centered maternity care.
In 2020, the AAFP published an extensive position paper stating, among other things, that “family physicians can play a significant part in addressing the disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality.”