Black Maternal Health Week

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Local doctors are bridging the gap and reducing barriers to medicine during Black Mental Health Week.

All week long, UofL Health is hosting a series of events targeted at helping women of color feel more comfortable seeking medical care during pregnancy.

According to the CDC, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

Dr. Edward Miller, head of Maternal and Fetal Medicine at UofL Health, says these disparities have only been worsened by the pandemic. 

"As we put on this week, I think we also recognize we need so much more than a week to really tackle the root causes of how we found ourselves in this situation," said Miller. 

Miller says the event series is a great opportunity not only to provide resources to the community, but also for providers to sit back and listen to testimonies from patients of color to better understand how to aid them.

Third year resident obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Tawana Coates says she is working to use her own experiences with motherhood to forge better connections with patients of color.

"One of the things I hope is to show a lot of the patients I'm just like you, I was in your shoes and I hope to connect with them on a personal level so they know, regardless of my title, I'm here to take care of you, I'm someone who has been where you are. I hope that continues throughout the future so we connect with them outside of the exam rooms and within the actual communities that we serve," said Coates.

"One of the things we really focus on during this week is empowerment and recognizing women are the deciders for themselves and their bodies. While hospital systems and doctors offices can be very disempowering environments, we hope to empower them and give them the tools which allow them to advocate for themselves and their families," said Miller.

Click here for a list of events marking Black Maternal Health Week.

Events will also be shared on UofL Health's Facebook Page.

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