Maternal Health Initiative
The Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Maternal Health Initiative works to improve maternal health outcomes for and alongside Black and Indigenous communities within Hennepin County.
This initiative creates new partnerships and expands community-based services. It also increases maternal and child health data monitoring, health education, and promotes access to health care in the community.
Maternal health disparities
Maternal mortality is a devastating health disparity in the United States, and in Hennepin County. The Maternal Health Initiative is working to improve all areas of maternal health, including but not limited to maternal mortality outcomes.
Black and American Indian people suffer higher rates of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots during pregnancy than White people. In 2019 only 45% of American Indian pregnant people and 64% of U.S born Black pregnant people got appropriate health care during pregnancy.
The disparities in care are caused by current and historical racism.
Care during pregnancy and delivery - MN Department of Health (PDF, 1MB)
Investment in clinical services
Our initial investments focused on expanding existing maternal and reproductive health related clinical services. Examples of this include hiring additional staff, increasing postpartum home visits, and training staff to be trauma informed. These investments went to:
- NorthPoint Health and Wellness
- Hennepin Healthcare
- Roots Community Birth Center
- Hennepin County Public Health Clinical Services
The Birth Justice Project
A major component of the Maternal Health Initiative is the Birth Justice Project. This project set out to work with the community to develop a birth justice strategic plan. This plan will use community-led solutions to help Black and American Indian birthing people and their families to be empowered in all stages of the birth process. This includes the prenatal, pregnancy and postpartum stages as well as being able to make decisions and have healthy outcomes for themselves, their babies and their communities.
To achieve this, the Birth Justice Collaborative was formed and includes community members, providers, and organizations involved in Black and American Indian maternal health. The plan that they created is designed to be a guide for Hennepin County to use to move maternal health forward. The Collaborative will oversee implementation of this plan. A community-based approach has been at the center of this work, and the community members and the organizations leading the Collaborative will continue to be active members of the implementation of the strategic plan.
The Birth Justice Collaborative includes:
- Liberty Northside Healing Space
- The University of Minnesota Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center
- Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center
- Native American Community Clinic
- The Division of Indian Work
- The Cultural Wellness Center
- Coordinating organization, Collective Action Lab
Birth justice strategic plan (PDF, 1MB)