New program in Memphis aims to train Black midwives to change dramatic racial disparity

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 6:36 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The health experts at CHOICES: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health noticed a distinct problem in Memphis.

There are only a total of four midwives who are black in the entire city and nationally only four percent of midwives are African American, which can affect health outcomes.

“Studies show that if you have a provider that looks like you, you have better birth outcomes,” Mia Peake, Midwifery Fellowship Coordinator said. “You have better breast feeding rates, decrease your chances of postpartum depression.”

“We really envision not to look like only four midwives in all of Memphis, but we are making history here at Choices,” Talita Oseguera, a Certified Nurse Midwife at CHOICES said.

CHOICES has announced a brand new, first of it’s kind Midwife fellowship program aimed at training and educating black midwives.

Their goal is to help reduce black maternal mortality.

According to the Centers for Disease Control black women die of pregnancy related causes at four times the rate of white women.

“We saw a need and we want to make sure that we’re doing our best to solve the issue but also just be a hub where we can educate newly graduate nurse midwives that look like the community,” Peake said.

The year long program will start for the first time in January with two nurse midwives as paid fellows.

CHOICES hopes the program can continue to grow and train midwives for more representation in Memphis and across the South.

“Everyone’s looking at Choices to be honest because we’re the only ones that are doing this work. Our goal is to have more Choices around the world,” Peake said. “So we’re excited to roll this out and see what happens.”

To learn more about CHOICES and the midwife program, click here:

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