Community Engagement; Infant Health; Maternal Health; Prenatal Care


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


The state of maternal health and infant mortality in the United States is far worse than 33 developed countries (CDCP NCHS, 2018). Black mothers and infants die at twice the rate in comparison to mothers and infants of other races (CDC, 2020). Infant mortality is the death of a child before the age of one. The Sisters and Brothers for Healthy Infants Initiative focuses on education, community engagement, elevating the voices of Black mothers and fathers, and a community birthday party to celebrate Black infants first birthday. This signature event is known as Celebrate Day 366, a day to share information Black infant mortality, co-parenting, and fatherhood, conduct a community conversation on birth equity, and celebrate Black babies first birthday. This paper reflects the results from a panel discussion of community members and stakeholders in Kansas sharing their experiences with maternal and infant mortality. The Health Equity Framework four main components (systems of power, relationships and networks, individual factors, physiological pathways, that are integral to the inequities in maternal health and infant mortality was used to guide our research analysis (Peterson, et. al 2020). As a part of the qualitative content analysis, five themes emerged: 1) stress during pregnancy; 2) advocacy; 3) innovation of technology not equating to health equity; 4) realization of inferior care; and 5) racism and stereotypes. The themes reflected similar lived experiences amongst Black mothers, fathers, and physicians surrounding maternal health and infant mortality inequities. The results of the CD366 panel discussion highlight the importance of exploring how, if at all, Black mothers and fathers, are benefiting from the birthing experience.