Mocha OB, a group comprised of over 500 female OB/GYNs, OB trained Family Practice Physicians and Cardiologists of color have been working all week in various activities and have issued the following statement regarding Black Maternal Health week:
“As women of color, we are acutely aware of the crisis facing black women in pregnancy. Black women are dying in childbirth at a rate 4 times greater than any other ethnicity. As OBGYNs, we are on the front lines of the fight to turn this statistic around. Every day we work tirelessly to save the lives of pregnant women whose voices are not heard and whose lives are not valued. The systems that are currently in place do not adequately address the needs of the women in the black community to allow them to fully partner in their health and improve their outcomes. Not only are we physician providers, we have been patients with first-hand experience in existing barriers to our wellness. Until now, our input as black female PHYSICIANS have not been included in any of the discussions to address this healthcare crisis.
We are of the collective opinion that a TEAMeffort is needed to turn the tide towards well-being.
T- Timeliness: We believe that EARLY access to healthcare to optimize health prior to pregnancy is critical. It is necessary that states provide Medicaid expansion and healthcare facilities in rural and urban communities to diagnose and treat diabetes, hypertension, auto-immune disease and obesity BEFORE pregnancy occurs. This access will ensure our mothers are in the best shape possible to handle the physical demands of childbirth.
E- Education and Engagement: Educating our colleagues and ancillary staff in healthcare on the potential of implicit bias to cloud judgement and delay life-saving care. Taking the time to teach our patients ensuring understanding of the principles behind our testing, decision making and interventions. Engaging churches, civic organizations and non-OB physicians to partner with us in a way that fosters trust in the medical community
A- Advocacy: Encourage patients to have Advocates who ASK the important questions during their prenatal visits and support patients during and after birth. Encourage doula care.
M- Mentorship:Mentoring and increasing the number of midwives, doulas and physicians of color so that patients have access to more providers with like-minded and similar cultural perspectives.
We are committed to initiating efforts to work with state and national agencies, professional organizations and governing bodies to effect a change. We will remain visible and engaged as we continue our work delivering babies and attending to our mothers in the best way we know how.”