Black Maternal Health Takes Center Stage at Meharry Medical College

Black Maternal Health Takes Center Stage at Meharry Medical College

Content provided by Dr. Rolanda Lister and 2024 Impact Statement

This April, during Black Maternal Health Month, Dr. Rolanda Lister, Asst. Professor, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and her partners, launched "Celebrating Black Motherhood," an event that sought to transform the conversation around Black maternal experiences. Sadly, Black women face a 2-4 times higher risk of pregnancy-related death compared to their white counterparts. Understandably, this creates a climate of fear and anxiety for many expectant Black mothers.

While acknowledging the dire statistics, this powerful event aimed to illuminate an often-overlooked reality: the majority of Black mothers and babies achieve positive birth outcomes. The organizers focused on three significant goals: elevating positive Black birth stories, providing expectant mothers with practical resources, and celebrating the unique strength and beauty inherent to Black motherhood.

The impact of "Celebrating Black Motherhood" was undeniable. Participants shared heartfelt testimonials like, "When you were speaking, I just didn't feel alone anymore..." and "It was perfect and informative. I don't know how you are going to top it next year. I didn't know I had options. I feel so empowered." Beyond empowerment, the event had a real-world health benefit: " led me to getting some labs tonight. I just don't know that I would have caught it without the event!"

By prioritizing joy, empowerment, and tangible support, "Celebrating Black Motherhood" offered a refreshing and necessary perspective within Black Maternal Health Month. It served as a powerful reminder that celebrating resilience and positive experiences is as vital as addressing the challenges faced by Black mothers.

The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance is proud to a community co-sponsor for this special celebration to raise awareness about Black Maternal Health.

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For more information, contact Dr. Lister at