AAMA Recognizes Black Maternal Health Week 2022
Published on April 13, 2022
(Washington, D.C.) — On the one-year anniversary of the White House issuing its first-ever presidential proclamation marking Black Maternal Health Week, Mayor Sylvester Turner (Houston, TX), president of the African American Mayors Association issued the following statement.
“Pregnancy and childbirth should be safe and equitable for all Americans but the United States is currently experiencing a maternal mortality crisis. African American women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications than any other group of women in the United States. And new Black mothers are more likely to suffer from mental health challenges like postpartum depression, in silence, and without clinical help. It can feel like no Black woman is safe from the dangers that come with getting pregnant and giving birth in America. We know a primary reason why this is happening: systemic racial inequities and implicit bias in our communities and healthcare system. We can and must do better. To save the lives of Black women and newborns in our cities, we must prioritize maternal health policies and programs for before, during, and after pregnancy.”
The crisis in Black maternal health cuts across socio-economic status. Regardless of income, education level, or insurance status, Black women are far more likely to die in childbirth. Black maternal death is an issue of standard of care, often rooted in the perception and often inadequate response to Black women’s pain.
AAMA passed a resolution in 2018 that encourages city leaders to work with local health officials and community health organizations to develop an action plan on reducing disparities in maternal health outcomes. AAMA member, Mayor Bowser, created the Maternal and Infant health initiative in Washington, D.C., a blueprint for our cities on the necessity of an intersectional approach to improving maternal health outcomes. AAMA continues to work with its membership to encourage cities to closely monitor maternal mortality rates for African American women and implement adequate precautionary measures to reduce racial disparities in maternal health outcomes. In addition, AAMA supports funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program, which provides funding for communities to work towards reducing infant mortality, and improve the health of pregnant women.
The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) is the only organization exclusively representing over 500 African-American mayors across the United States. AAMA seeks to empower local leaders for the benefit of their citizens. The role of the AAMA includes taking positions on public policies that impact the vitality and sustainability of cities; providing mayors with leadership and management tools; and creating a forum for member mayors to share best practices related to municipal management.