Cradle Cincinnati Amplifies Black Women's Voices To Tackle Health Issues

Apr 16, 2019

Cincinnati nonprofits are joining a national conversation about systematic racism in the health care industry.

Black Maternal Health Week is a national initiative to amplify black stakeholders' voices like doulas and OB/GYNs. The goal is to enhance local community organizing on black maternity issues.

"As a black woman who was born and raised in Cincinnati, I cannot remember a time someone asked me what I felt were the issues black women fight and then put that into action," said Meredith Shockley-Smith, director of community strategy at Cradle Cincinnati.

The organization is hoping to give black women agency through a community-driven effort named Queens Village.

Research from the American Journal of Public Health finds African American women have a higher risk of infant death than any other ethnicity due to chronic stress from racism.

Groups hope increasing awareness will help find solutions to improve black mortality rates.

This week Cradle is celebrating stakeholders that are black women on social media using the hashtag #BecauseWeLoveHer.

"At the Queens Village we are looking to connect women, so we can get at the issue of relations," said Shockley-Smith. "And ask them what it is exactly that you need to lessen your stressors then implement that."

Queens Village hopes to create a safe space for African American women through monthly meetings in North College Hill. The organization hopes to expand to more areas as demand grows.

A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed the article, “Very Low Birthweight in African American Infants: The Role of Maternal Exposure to Interpersonal Racial Discrimination” to the National Library of Medicine. The correct author is the American Journal of Public Health.