Today, New York City Mayor Eric Adams took steps to reduce maternal and infant health inequities in New York City and provide critical resources to new families — announcing the citywide expansion of the doula program, the expansion of a Midwifery Initiative, and the expansion of a maternal health care services program. The Citywide Doula Initiative will provide free access to doulas for birthing families and focus on 33 neighborhoods with the greatest social needs. The Midwifery Initiative will be expanded to all 38 public and private birthing facilities citywide and will allow the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), for the first time, to gather data on births and care with midwives; create partnerships with midwife organizations, private practices, and community members; and develop a report on midwives in New York City. Finally, the Maternity Hospital Quality Improvement Network (MHQIN) will be expanded across all 38 birthing facilities across the city in an effort to improve maternal care at local hospitals and birthing centers.
“Women of color across our city deserve to have access to quality, patient-centered reproductive care before, during, and after childbirth. We continue to lose too many mothers to preventable maternal complications that could have been avoided if they had support from a doula or midwife. I believe Mayor Adams’ announcement today is a step in the right direction towards dismantling years of systemic bias and racism in our healthcare industry and towards decreasing the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in New York City. As the borough with the highest maternal mortality rate in New York State and the only one led by two women, this issue is personal for us. We recently convened a meeting with birthing advocates and our Black Maternal Health Consortium to discuss ways we can adequately address this issue and will continue to work together to find solutions. We know there is healthcare injustice that disproportionately impacts African-American and Latina women in the Bronx, and it is important that we fight for equity in our healthcare system for all birthing individuals that want to be treated with fairness and simply want to receive quality care. I am thankful that we also have a partner at City Hall that will work with us to combat this issue.”