The Department of Public Health and Wellness will host a Birth Equity Town Hall Meeting on Thursday September 5 at 6 p.m. at 400 E. Gray St.
The meeting will consider policy initiatives to close the gap in infant and maternal mortality between the general population and minority communities. The meeting will seek input from community residents and will hear from local and national experts on best-practice policy solutions.
“Louisville has made progress in lowering overall infant mortality rates over the past twenty years,” said Public Health director and the city’s chief health strategist, Dr. Sarah Moyer. “However, there is still a significant gap between the rate at which white and black babies die before their first birthday. African American women are also still far more likely to die in childbirth. The Town Hall Meeting will seek solutions to bring about the day when every child and every community in or city thrives. I encourage people to attend.”
A panel at the Town Hall Meeting will be led by Dr. Edward Ehlinger, Acting Chair of the U.S. Health and Human Service’s Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality. Panelists will include Dr. Carol Brees of the University of Louisville; Dr. Brittany Watkins of Centerstone; Dr. Olugbemisola Obi of U of L Physicians; Dr. Kelly Pryor, a mother; Arthur Lemons, a Healthy Start father; Asia Ware, a Healthy Start mother and Emily Whitsett-Pickett of Mama to Mama. Dr. Moyer will also offer remarks.
While the overall infant mortality rate, the rate at which infants die before their first birthday, has fallen in Louisville from 7.6 to 6.1 per 1000 live births (five year averages of 1995 – 1999 and 2013 – 2017), African American babies still average 5.8 more deaths per 1000 live births than white babies. Also, according to the American Medical Association, African American women in the United States are two to six times more likely to die of complications from pregnancy than white women.