Birth Equity; Maternal and Infant Health; Maternal and Child Health; Kansas Birth Equity Network; Birth Equity Case Definition


Maternal and Child Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Women's Health


Background: While some health outcomes improve in the United States, racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related outcomes persist. In the United States and Kansas, Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than white women.

Description: The Kansas Birth Equity Network (KBEN), is an initiative developed to address racial disparities in maternal and child health outcomes. We used a community-centered approach to collect stakeholder perceptions of birth equity and develop a case definition of birth equity.

Methods: An open-ended online survey was designed to collect stakeholders’ definition of birth equity, their organization’s birth equity missions, and future aspirations of birth equity in Kansas. The survey was administered via REDCap and 35 members of KBEN were invited to participate. Common themes were identified, and a case definition was developed.

Results: Guided by the health equity framework, three major themes were identified: elimination of birth disparities, reimagining systems of power, and assurance of optimal outcomes. A case definition of birth equity as “the assurance of equitable care through creating a system that eliminates health inequities and values parents and community stakeholders” was created and adopted.

Conclusion: Guided by stakeholder perceptions of birth equity and the health equity framework, we achieved consensus that birth equity requires a focus on reimagining systems of power and centering the experiences of Black parents and families.