Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) will explore solutions to address the high rates of maternal mortality experienced by people of color across the nation at the first Maternal and Infant Health Summit on Sep. 12.
The goal of the summit is to push a broad range of objectives, including guaranteeing high-quality care during a mother’s first trimester of pregnancy, equipping healthcare facilities with the ability to manage the social needs of female patients and providing resources to new families, according to an Aug. 29 news release from the Office of the Mayor.
Bowser will be joined by at least six other mayors from cities across the country to host the free event, according to the news release.
In D.C., mothers of color experience disproportionally high rates of infant mortality in comparison to white women. According to the D.C. Department of Health’s “Perinatal Health and Infant Mortality Report” published in April 2018, the infant mortality rate for non-Hispanic, black mothers is 11.49 per 1,000 live births in comparison to 2.55 per 1,000 live births for non-Hispanic white mothers.
Bowser’s plan to expand women’s access to healthcare, has been central to her administration’s goal since her State of the District address in March 2018.
“I will also introduce legislation that will help ensure every pregnant woman in Washington, D.C. receives patient-centered, high-quality prenatal care and every newborn receives high-quality neonatal care,” she said at the State of the District.
The summit serves as an opportunity for politicians, health officials and policy advocates to collaborate to improve familial health, she said in the news release
“This summit is about addressing issues that affect mothers, babies, and families here in D.C. and across the entire nation – and talking about solutions,” Bowser said in the news release. “By working together, we can move closer to ensuring all women have access to high-quality health care before, during, and after child birth.”
The summit will feature mayors Lovely Warren from Rochester, N.Y., Karen Freeman-Wilson from Gary, Ind., Catherine Pugh from Baltimore, Md., Vi Lyles from Charlotte, N.C., Karen Weaver from Flint, Mich. and Toni Harp from New Haven, Conn.
Interacting with mayors from jurisdictions across the country affords the opportunity to establish a national agenda to resolve ongoing disparities, Warren said.
“We all benefit from hearing from other mayors and community leaders, learning from them, sharing what’s worked as we seek to improve the health of mothers and babies, and addressing the gap in outcomes for many minority mothers and babies in our communities,” Warren said in the Aug. 29 news release.
The summit will aim to educate D.C. residents in effectively managing different stages of pregnancy in addition to allowing women to become advocates of their own well-being, Bowser said in the Aug. 29 news release.
The summit will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
“We are working every day to ensure that all women have equal access to high-quality health care before, during, and after child birth—regardless of background, zip code, or income,” Bowser said. “This summit will complement the work my Administration is doing across all eight wards to provide women and children with the care they need to live healthy, happy lives.”