by Adam Andrzejewski
The Department of Health and Human Services is awarding $4.5 million in grants to public colleges to train maternal health providers in implicit bias.
The grant summary states, “the purpose of this program is to address implicit bias among maternal health care providers to reduce health disparities and improve maternal health outcomes,” with public and state-controlled institutions of higher education eligible for the funding.
An HHS press release about the funding specifies that the funds will be used to support community-based doulas, a non-medical professional to support women as they give birth. They don’t deliver babies but give expectant mothers emotional and physical support leading up to and giving birth.
The funding, through HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration, said the money will be used to hire, train, certify, and pay community-based doulas “in areas with high rates of adverse maternal and infant health outcomes.”
The HHS said the grant builds on the administration of President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris to “address the nation’s Black maternal health crisis.”
Many news outlets and medical entities have reported on the high rate of Black mothers dying in or leading up to childbirth, a terrible scourge that Americans in 2022 shouldn’t face.
“Black mothers of all ages are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their White peers,” March of Dimes reported.
The non-profit that advocates for the health of mothers and babies, notes that some of this is due to living in rural areas known as “maternity care deserts.”
Also partly to blame is being unhealthy before getting pregnant and battling things like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity while pregnant.
Funding to help mothers and their babies survive is one thing, but $4.5 million to train unconscious racism out of doulas and other maternal health care providers could be better spent to improve medical care.
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