Community Grand Rounds: Black Maternal and Infant Health Summit
Corewell Health helped to shine a light on inequities related to Black maternal and infant health at the Community Grand Rounds Summit in August. Our health system is committed to educating ourselves and our partners on issues that impact our communities so that together, we can work toward fairness and equity in maternal infant health outcomes. Watch the speaker presentation and panel discussion from the Black Maternal and Infant Health Summit below!
Dr. Sekeita Lewis-Johnson is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner, international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and doula. She is the Accredited Provider Program Director and an instructor for Lactation Education Resources. She is also the owner of Mommy and Me Lactation Consulting, LLC, one of the founding members of Southeast Michigan IBCLCs of Color and Mama’s Mobile Milk and serves as a board director for The United States Breastfeeding Committee. She is a national speaker and provides health equity training to local municipalities per request.
Dr. Lewis-Johnson has received multiple awards during her career including "The Award of Excellence" from the United States Lactation Consultant Association and “The Alumni Service Award” from The College of Nursing at Michigan State University.
She is an avid advocate for equitable and just policies and practices especially related to black maternal-child health inequities. Passionate about maternal-child health and breastfeeding, Dr. Lewis-Johnson provides lactation and doula services within Metro-Detroit and surrounding areas. Her main goals are to prevent obstetrical harm, and to assist families to achieve their desired feeding goals. She believes that breastfeeding self-efficacy, along with skilled and timely lactation support are key to breastfeeding success.
A community panel, passionate about providing resources and solutions to address maternal and infant health inequities locally, discussed strategies to improve awareness and provide more breastfeeding support in the Black community.
Bianca Nash-Miot, IBCLC, CD, CPE
Tameka White, CLS
Maternal and Infant Health Resources in Michigan
Birth Queens and Milk Queens offers comprehensive birth doula and lactation counselor services for pregnant and breastfeeding families, focusing on advancing health equity for Black communities. Through partnerships and community groups, they reach families of color in many counties throughout southwestern Michigan.
Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association’s objective is to provide education, valuable resources and ongoing support to Black families and public or private agencies that service these families.
Commonsense Childbirth is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve birth outcomes and save lives by offering training and certification programs for health care professionals, para-professionals, maternity care systems and medical institutions interested in creating perinatal safety for at-risk populations.
LactPower is a community organization in Berrien County that provides breastfeeding and post-doula support services.
Present Pillars is a local organization that provides resources and support to families and fathers within the community. It supports the philosophy that a healthy father supports a healthy family, which leads to a healthy community.
Southeast Michigan IBCLC’s of Color is an organization committed to reducing disparities in Black maternal and infant mortality in Southeast Michigan. They provide services for families, develop advocacy, leverage relationships and mentor other professionals developing a career in the Black maternal and infant health space.
Watch additional Black Breastfeeding Week events
- Fireside Chat with Kenn Harris (Corewell Health West): The involvement of Black expectant fathers during pregnancy is integral to healthy birth outcomes for their partner, however, they are usually left out of the Black Maternal and Infant Health conversation. Add on the burden of a partner’s poor maternal outcome or even worse, maternal death, there is little thought of acknowledging how these traumatic occurrences impact their lives. Kenn Harris, a national expert in the field of maternal and child health, public health, fatherhood/ male involvement and community engagement and who worked on “My Brother’s Keeper”, President Obama’s initiative to address the health of boys and men of color, will lead the Fireside Chat centering Black fathers and exploring the effects of structural racism on maternal infant health and their implications for father’s engagement.
- Capturing Liquid Gold (Corewell Health East): During a conversational gallery event, five Black breastfeeding mothers are featured in beautiful imagery that represents their infant feeding journey. Stories from a mom who's breastfed two children over the past five years, to an exclusively pumping mom and even more in between. Spend time admiring the exquisite photos while engaging in meaningful conversation on the unique experiences of these Black women.
- Meet Baltimore's Birth Artist: Lauren J. Turner (Corewell Health West): Representation matters in fostering positive health outcomes and the promotion of Black breastfeeding. Racial imagery in Black breastfeeding should exist consistently in all places where there is a touchpoint of Black Maternal, Infant and Paternal Health though we know it isn’t reflected in nearly as many spaces like marketing and social media platforms, educational resources, or health and healthcare systems, as white breastfeeding counterparts. To refrain from adding racially reflective displays perpetuates the mistaken belief that Black women do not breastfeed. We are delighted to be joined by Lauren J Turner, Black Doula and Birth Artist to indulge in a rich conversation as she talks about her personal birthing and lactation journey. She will share how her experience inspired her artistry to paint beautiful portraits of Black and women of color breastfeeding. We will hear about the intersectionality of art and reproductive health and how she advocates for birth and lactation support through her art.
- Launching "Yes! We Do" Billboard Blitz (Corewell Health West): The “Yes! We Do.” Billboard Blitz is an awareness campaign held during Black Breastfeeding Week, August 25-31. Imagery of Black women breastfeeding is placed throughout Kent County reflecting only a small representation of mothers normalizing the mother/baby dyad and human milk feeding experiences in the Black community. “Yes! We Do.” is a declaration that promotes resistance to and the dispelling of the myth that Black women do not breastfeed. This is an activity of Strong Beginnings promoting the normalization of breastfeeding/human milk feeding.
- Breastfeeding: A Candid Cross Community Panel Discussion (Corewell Health West): This Black breastfeeding panel aims to provide a safe and empowering space for Black families and lactation professionals to specifically address the challenges and barriers they may face. The group represents multiple Michigan communities and team members across the Corewell Health Enterprise. The candid conversation will address socio-historical factors and structural systems influencing Black breastfeeding, seek to break down stigmas and misconceptions about Black breastfeeding, promote the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child and discuss solutions for better outcomes. Panelist: Co-facilitators: Lyann Moore-CLS/CD, Bonita Agee,-CLC/CBE. Panelists:. Kiara Baskin-CLC/CD; Latoyia LeRoux-CLC, (community member/s); Rita Little, MS CHES CLC CPST, (community member/s; Tameka White, CLC/Doula (community member/s), Rachel Whittington-Cole (community member), Jazz McKinney (community member), Audrianna Thornton and Reginald Bell Jr. (community members).
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