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NNLM Reading Club: Racism and Health

NNLM Reading Club Book Kit

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"By distilling the common and diverse threads from over 100 black women, researchers from the Black Women Birthing Justice have woven a multi-faceted tapestry reflecting what black women view as important and central to optimal birth experiences. Their recommendations for improving care and outcomes are grounded in black women’s authoritative knowledge. This wonderful, important, necessary research by and for black women points in the direction that black women think we should go to ensure they have safe, healthy, and satisfying birth experiences and outcomes. We need to listen and act." -- Christine Morton, PhD, author, Birth Ambassadors: Doulas and the Re-Emergence of Woman-Supported Birth in America

"... reveals hard truths—powerful findings on the role of racism, coercion, inadequate prenatal care, the pressures undermining breastfeeding, and the lack of access to alternatives to a broken maternal healthcare system as the key threads of Black women’s birth experiences." --Kimberly Seals Allers, MS, is an award-winning journalist, author, and an internationally recognized speaker, consultant, and advocate for maternal and infant health.​

Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis | Julia Chinyere Oparah; Helen Arega; Dantia Hudson; Linda Jones; Talita Osegueral | Praeclarus Press: Excellence in Women's Health |  2018 | 206 pages | ISBN: 978-1946665119


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A collaboration of the Black Women Birthing Justice (BWBJ), a collective of African-American, African, Caribbean, and multiracial women who are committed to transforming birthing experiences for black women and transfolks.

Chinyere Oparah began her tenure as Provost and Dean of the Faculty on January 1, 2017, after serving for almost twenty years on the Mills College faculty. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, raised in the South of England and with roots in SE Nigeria, Oparah’s educational background includes the study of languages, literature, philosophy, sociology, ethnic studies and community development. She received her BA and MA in modern and medieval languages from Cambridge University, Postgraduate Diploma in community practice from Luton University, MA in race and ethnic studies from Warwick University, and PhD in sociology with a focus on black women’s civic engagement from Warwick University.

Helen Arega is a traditional birth attendant, activist, and educator. She is a member of Black Women Birthing Justice and currently serves as the Roots of Labor Doula Coordinator. Helen was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to the US when she was 4 yrs. old. While she has spent most of her life in US she is very passionate about birth justice issues on a global scale, specifically in Afrika. She describes herself as calm, passionate, reliable, and organized. Sending love and light!

Dantia Hudson is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Educator, and Yoga Instructor. She attended UC Berkeley for her undergraduate degree where she majored in Sociology and received a Masters in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University. She works as a public health researcher focusing on improving health outcomes for all communities and teaches an undergraduate public health course at Mills College. She is a member of the Black Women’s Birthing Justice and a BirthWays Board Member. Dantia enjoys arts and crafts projects in her spare time and loves spending time outside in the California sun; she resides in Oakland.

Linda Jones (formerly Jones-Mixon)is a Birth and Postpartum Doula and mother of two who lives in Oakland, CA. She founded and owned Waddle and Swaddle Baby Boutique and Resource Center in Berkeley, CA, and has been a part of the natural birth advocacy community in the Bay Area for over two decades. She belongs to Sistahs of the Good Birth, a group of Black Doulas who work with low-income mothers. She was one of the founders of a volunteer Doula group that provided services for low income, uninsured and teen moms that birthed at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley.

Talita Oseguera is a doula and a student in the University of California San Diego's nursing and midwifery program.