Children Health

Reps. Horsford and Sewell Hold Community Conversation on Black Maternal Health

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEV. — Today, Reps. Steven Horsford (D-NV-04) and Terri Sewell (D-AL-07) held a community conversation with public health advocates and civic leaders about improving Black maternal health outcomes and expanding high-quality health care in communities of color.

“Thanks to the leadership of our local elected officials, Nevada has made significant recent progress to improve health outcomes for expecting mothers and their children. Despite these gains, Black women are more likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause, and Black infant mortality rates are nearly twice as high as white infant mortality rates. We need bold, decisive action to improve maternal care and prevent deaths,” said Rep. Steven Horsford. “As a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, I am working to pass legislation that would improve maternal and infant care across the nation. As we move forward at the federal level, I’m proud to partner with local leaders in Nevada to make sure every family receives the respectful, high-quality care they deserve.”

“Tragically, mothers in the United States are dying during and after pregnancy at the highest rate of any country in the developed world, with Black women facing particularly deadly outcomes. As a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, I am committed to addressing this crisis and was proud to see my Maternal Vaccination Act pass the House of Representatives last month,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “I thank my colleague Rep. Horsford for bringing attention to the Black maternal health crisis and for his partnership on this issue. Through continued education, advocacy, and legislation, I’m hopeful that we can build a nation where women of every background enjoy equal access to maternal health care.”

“I was so thankful to be a part of this very important discussion. While Nevada’s maternal mortality rates are lower than the national average, one death is one too many,” said Nevada Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno. “I am proud of the progress we are making here in Nevada but there is much work to go. The creation of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee through Assembly Bill 169 in 2019 and the Public Health Resource Office in 2021 from Senate Bill 424 will assist us in addressing disparate health outcomes in rural, underserved and communities of color.”

“A person’s race and/or where a person lives should never determine their health outcomes or the quality of care they will receive; however, this is not the reality. Black mothers are more likely to die and experience severe complications/life-threatening conditions during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum. For example, Black and Brown mothers compared to White are more likely to have premature and/or low birth weight babies; they have elevated postpartum depression and are also more likely to be food insecure as well as lose their health insurance after childbirth. Thus, to improve Black maternal-child health and nutrition in the Valley, we must reduce or eliminate these health disparities by addressing the social determinants of health, which is the goal of our project recently funded by the National Institutes of Health,” said Drs. Melva Thompson-Robinson and Gabriela Buccini, public health researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Leaders in attendance included:

  • Nevada Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno
  • Nevada Assemblywoman Shondra Summers-Armstrong
  • Nevada Assemblywoman Clara (Claire) Thomas
  • Dr. Melva Thompson-Robinson, Professor of Social and Behavioral Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Dr. Gabriela Buccini, Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Michael Johnson, PhD, RN, PMH-BC, CNE, Assistant Professor & Director of Clinical Partnerships, School of Nursing, Nevada State College
  • Erika Washington, Executive Director, Make it Work Nevada
  • A’Esha Goines, Organizing Coach, Make it Work Nevada
  • Quentin Savwoir, Deputy Director, Make it Work Nevada
  • Jollina Simpson, International Board-Certified Lactation Counselor, midwife assistant, doula, and childbirth educator
  • Tiara Flynn, birth doula and owner of Phenomenal Mama LLC
  • Lizette Guillen, Director of Administration, Nevada Partners.

Reps. Horsford and Sewell are members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, which focuses on policy solutions to improve maternal health outcomes and end maternal health disparities. In February 2021, members of the caucus introduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, a comprehensive legislative package that would improve care for pregnant and postpartum women by addressing social determinants of health, improving data collection on maternal health, expanding access to telemedicine, and incentivizing high-quality care for all mothers and children. The Black Maternal Health Momnibus passed the House of Representatives in November 2021.

In October 2021, Rep. Horsford secured $3.1 million in grant funding for Dr. Melva Thompson-Robinson and Dr. Gabriela Buccini of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to work with Nevada Partners and the West Las Vegas Promise Neighborhood on a project to integrate maternal-child health and nutrition interventions. To learn more about this grant, click here.

Media Contact
Geneva Kropper | | 202-849-0251

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