The Tufts University School of Medicine has launched a center for Black Maternal Health and Reproductive Justice.
The school announced plans for the center earlier this month in response to the disproportionate rates of Black women who die due to childbirth and pregnancy complications. The news comes amid the national recognition of Black Maternal Health Week as part of the White House's proclamation in 2021.
"The country is in a crisis around maternal health," Ndidiamaka Amutah-Onukagha, the school's Julia A. Okoro professor of Black Maternal Health, told Tufts Now. "The majority of Black maternal deaths are completely preventable."
The center, founded by Amutah-Onukagha, seeks to address the inequality in healthcare that leads to higher rates of maternal deaths among Black women.
"The opportunity to create and launch a national Center for Black Maternal Health and Reproductive Justice at this critical time will not only honor the work around maternal health equity, but also position Tufts as a leader in this field," the center's founder said. "The vision for the center is to protect the Black birthing experience by advocating for quality, equitable, and respectful care in childbirth."
Research and community-centered work and policy reform will all be a focus of the center.
"We intend to be of service not only to the Boston area, but to the country," said Amutah-Onukagha, who is one of just six principle researchers who investigate racial disparities among pregnant people.
"The work that will come out this center will shape federal health legislation and hopefully impact policy in a way that will save lives," she added.