Inequities in Black birth: What the Tulsa Birth Equity Initiative is Doing to Make Change, One Day at a Time

Omare Jimmerson | March 1, 2024

Black women die from pregnancy-related deaths at a rate three to four times more likely than white women and are also more likely to experience severe maternal morbidity as well other complications due to pregnancy. These inequities not only stem from socioeconomic factors affecting access to and quality of care but are also “linked to the stresses of racism both individual and institutional and their long-term physiological implications”, writes Omare Jimmerson, 2023 Healthy Communities Fellow in this piece for The Black Wall Street Times.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, Black women in the United States face significant inequities in maternal mortality and morbidity. Jimmerson notes that implicit and explicit bias in healthcare can explain, at least in part, this racial disparity. She further emphasizes the need to acknowledge maternal mortality as a systemic issue that must be approached through a systems change lens. As per Jimmerson, this is necessary to confront implicit biases, create individualized care and  joyful moments for all birthing people.

Highlighting the work of her organization, Tulsa Birth Equity Initiative , she notes that black women served by the Initiative experience half the preterm birth rate as the state’s average for this population. “We are doing this one birth at a time, one birth worker at a time, one mother at a time, one baby at a time”, she writes.


To read more about inequities in black health and how Jimmerson’s work is tackling those inequities click below.