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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota: Culturally-centered Birth Center Improves Value and Equity in Perinatal Care

Racial inequities in perinatal health care place African American women and their babies at greater risk for birth complications and death. Researchers with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health studied a care model in use at free-standing community birth center in Minneapolis that views a mother’s culture as an asset and found the approach shows promise for providing midwifery care in a culturally-centered environment.

“Racism is a fundamental cause of health and reproductive health inequities in the U.S.,” said lead author and assistant professor Dr. Rachel Hardeman. “The model the center uses treats a mother’s culture, racial identity, and background as assets during pregnancy rather than a problem. ” 

The study, which was co-authored by associate professor Dr. Katy Kozhimannil, was published in Health Care: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation.

The researchers examined Roots Community Birth Center, an African American-owned, midwife-led birth center in Minneapolis. The center is located in a neighborhood with one of the highest infant mortality rates in the city and serves a diverse clientele

The Roots care model includes:

Preliminary findings suggest that the model is working with few preterm births, no low-birthweight babies, and a high proportion of mothers breastfeeding. 

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