APHA-Public Health Nursing Section’s Annual Racism Preconference Session

Birthing while Black: The Impact of Obstetric Violence and Responses to Systemic Racism in Maternal Health


This is the recording for webinar portions of the 5th Annual Public Health Nursing Racism Pre-Conference Session, held October 25, 2020 at 4pm MT, a free event during the 2020 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting. This focus was on systemic racism and the health of Black birthing families.


The event objectives were to:

  • Increase the level of dialogue and visibility of racism as a maternal and public health issue
  • Characterize obstetric violence from the experiences of Black birthing families
  • Identify ways to support individuals who are experiencing obstetric violence
  • Utilize the Achieving Health Equity Framework to develop research, practice, and policy action steps that reduce systemic racism in maternal health: Valuing all individuals and populations equally—that is, there are no invisible, undervalued, or disposable people; Recognizing and rectifying historical injustices; and Providing resources according to need—not equally, but according to need.

Moderator: Rebecca Shasanmi Ellis, MPH, RN, BSN, Faculty-Center for Study of Health, Emory University


  • Rachel Azanleko-Akouete (Health Integration – Fairfax County Health Dept., Virginia)
  • Alexis Cobbins (California Preterm Birth Initiative)
  • Charles Johnson (4Kira4Moms)
  • Vu-An Foster (Life After 2 Losses)
  • Miyhosi Benton (Women and Justice Project)

Breakout Opening Remarks: Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, Senior Fellow, Morehouse School of Medicine

Achieving Health Equity Framework Breakout Moderators

  • Research: Dazon Dixon Diallo, DHL, MPH, Founder and President of SisterLove, Inc.
  • Practice: Nastassia Davis, DNP, MSN, RN, IBCLC, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Montclair State University
  • Policy: Jack DiMatteo, Legislative Assistant, Office of Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
  • Presentation of Action Plans: Public Health Nurse Facilitators
    • Research – Kia Skrine Jeffers (UCLA School of Nursing)
    • Practice – Robin Evans-Agnew (University of Washington SON) 
    • Policy – Lorie Goshin (Hunter-Bellevue SON)

Closing Remarks: Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, Senior Fellow, Morehouse School of Medicine

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