The goal of the SisterCare Village is to make pregnancy and childbirth safe. We envision a world without health disparities in maternal and child health for Black woman in the DC metro area.
To that end, we aim to provide resources, maternal mentorship, and advocacy to Black women. The program will specifically focus on helping to reduce negative maternal health outcomes by supporting women through all phases of their pregnancy and postpartum and with cultural sensitivity in mind.
MAKING THE CASE
Black women bear the brunt of the racial disparities in maternal and child health in America. A 2019 CDC finding confirms that over a 10-year period (2007–2016), there remain significantly higher pregnancy-related mortality ratios among Black women as compared to their White counterparts.
More specifically, Black women were 3.3 times more likely than White women to suffer a pregnancy-related death (CDC, 2019). Even after controlling for educational attainment, the pregnancy-related trends for Black women remain dire.
The five main conditions that lead to maternal deaths are pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, placenta previa, and placental abruption (CDC, 2019). Although the prevalence of the conditions listed above are not higher among Black women, Black women are 2-3 times more likely to die from these conditions (CDC, 2019). Additionally, in a more recent study, Greenwood and colleagues (2020) highlighted that babies of color are three times more likely to die when cared for by White doctors as opposed to Black doctors. Even the most casual of internet searches will produce countless articles devoted to the unequal medical outcomes of minorities within America’s healthcare system. It is no surprise that enormous disparities exist at the maternal and child health level.
The SisterCare Village aims to reduce negative maternal health outcomes for Black women by:
recruiting "Village Sisters" into the program in different phases of their maternal journey; i.e., pre-conception phases (planning to get pregnant), currently pregnant women, postpartum etc.
providing each Village Sister with "Village Aunties" who will serve as their maternal mentor and advocate;
supporting and following-up with each Village Sister for 6 - 12 months; and
providing the Village Sisters with relevant resources through one-on-one information sessions and monthly workshops led by the "Maternal Guides."
While the SisterCare Village is not designed to take on the onerous task of changing the racial make-up of the medical industry, we believed that giving Black women access to a community-based maternal mentorship/advocacy program, provided primarily by those of the same race/ethnicity, can make a difference in their health outcomes.
The SisterCare Village will also focus on general community outreach to provide monthly maternal and child health resources. This monthly village brunch series (currently virtual) will cover information beginning with the preconception to postpartum phases of maternal and child health.
Village brunch series
Healing After Experiencing Loss
(... of pregnancy, infant, child)
(July 18, 2021)
Join our maternal guides in a discussion about pregnancy and infant loss with Erica McAfee of Sisters in Loss. This brunch episode is aimed at helping Black women who have experienced loss find their voice.
Optimizing Your Health for Success in Pregnancy
(May 30, 2021)
Join the village maternal guides and Cordelia Gaffar in exploring ways that women can optimize their health, specifically, their nutrition, in preparation for a successful pregnancy. This virtual village brunch session is specifically for pregnant women and women looking to get pregnant.
Self-Care on Your Journey Through Motherhood
(March 28, 2021)
Maternal Guides: Ramotalai Coker (public health expert), Dr. Muneera Fontaine (doula & educator), and Dr. Rashida McCain-Hall (board-certified family medicine physician) discuss how to help Black women engage in self-care and mental wellness on their journey through motherhood.
This debut village brunch series introduces SisterCare Village as a community-based outreach program. In this series, the expert panelists discuss Black women's childbirth vulnerabilities; factors contributing to the higher maternal mortality rates among Black women; alternative labor and delivery options; and ways Black women can begin to advocate for their health and that of the unborn child
(TRIGGER WARNING: The recording include discussions of loss and other maternal-related trauma)
Rashida McCain-Hall, MD
Dr. Rashida McCain-Hall is a board-certified Family Medicine physician. She completed an internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Drexel University and a Family Medicine residency at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. She currently works in western MD at a community hospital providing care for a diverse spectrum of acute medical illnesses. She has always had a passion for Women's Health and has always tried to be an advocate for medically underserved populations. Over the years, she has volunteered for various youth organizations as mentor and guide for children and young adults. Her favorite pastime includes finding interesting new places to eat and going on hikes around her community to walk it all off. She lives in Frederick, MD with her husband and four children.
Muneera Fontaine, owner of Peaceful Earth, Graceful Birth, is mother to three. She is an educator and also works as a birth and postpartum doula, womb healer, and early interventionist. 2020 marks her 12th year of practicing as a birth worker. She has served with several birth organizations (both doula and midwifery), developed doula training curricula and taught several other doulas in the process. With her own children, she has experienced a range of births from C-section to a home/waterbirth and wants other people to experience the amazing ability and power of the womb. Birth is one of the few things that effect 100% of humans, and she truly believes that everyone deserves a gentle, joyful welcome into the world.
Website URL: http://www.peacefulearthgracefulbirth.com/
Let's continue the conversation!
Join us every other month for live village brunch discussion with the SisterCare Village Maternal Guides and experts!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2019, September 6). Racial and ethnic disparities continue in pregnancy-related deaths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0905-racial-ethnic-disparities-pregnancy-deaths.html
Greenwood, B. N., Hardeman, R. R., Huang, L., & Sojourner, A. (2020). Physician–patient racial concordance and disparities in birthing mortality for newborns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(35), 21194-21200.
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). (2020, September 30). Social determinants of health | Healthy people 2020. Healthy People 2030 | health.gov. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health