Montefiore News Releases
$2 Million Dollar Investment in New Trauma-Focused Initiative Aims to Address Maternal Health Disparities in the South Bronx
- July 11, 2023
Montefiore’s Bronx Health Collective & the Mama Glow Foundation Awarded Federal Grant to Support Birthing Individuals
BRONX, NY: July 11, 2023 – The Bronx Health Collective at Montefiore Health System and the Mama Glow Foundation have been awarded a $2 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant to address trauma and advance treatment options for birthing people at clinics located in the South Bronx. The partnership, historic in nature, addresses structural racism, which makes exposure to violence particularly common in birthing communities.
When compared to their white counterparts, Black birthing people are three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications. In Bronx County, the ratio of pregnancy-related deaths for Black birthing people was 9.4 times that of white birthing people. Rates of domestic and gender-based violence are on the rise in the Bronx, and trauma is common but rarely addressed during prenatal care, contributing to pregnancy-related complications and a disproportionately high number of deaths among Black women.
Through Montefiore’s partnership with Mama Glow, a leader in maternal health and birthing justice, ongoing doula services will be available during pregnancy, as well as during and after birth in Montefiore’s South Bronx clinics. By incorporating doulas, this partnership will work to create a new reality where birthing people are more familiar and comfortable with their care team, and more confident in advocating for themselves and their child.
“Trauma has a profound impact on how we live our lives and how we experience pregnancy, and yet, it’s not screened for at prenatal check-ups and appointments,” said Latham Thomas, Founder of the Mama Glow Foundation. “Our goal is to address this gap by facilitating a space for personal growth, and uplifting holistic solutions and community healing through the delivery of trauma informed care.”
The new program will aid pregnant individuals who have faced intimate partner violence and other forms of trauma by 1) expanding screening for trauma during prenatal care, 2) enhancing the skills of the mental health teams providing trauma-focused therapy and 3) focusing on coordination of care.
Montefiore will also offer trauma-informed services like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which encourages people to focus on the traumatic memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typical eye movements). This form of therapy is one of the most effective treatments for complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
Addressing the lack of investment in trauma-informed care during the prenatal period, the program will incorporate ongoing provider training, and will undergo routine evaluation and refinement of services to ensure the needs of birthing individuals in the South Bronx are met. As one of the most under-resourced regions in the country, the Bronx contains one of the most vulnerable populations facing the maternal health crisis. The new program will stand as an example of what it means to tailor and channel efforts to people who need it most.
“This potentially lifesaving initiative, which has been informed by feedback from our clinicians, patients and community leaders, acknowledges the high level of violence and trauma that too many families in the South Bronx have had to endure,” said Amrita Seehra, MD, MPH, AAHIVS of the Bronx Health Collective. “This grant allows us to reconfigure the services patients at our Federally Qualified Health Center receive during and up to a year after pregnancy. We hope to improve health outcomes, support parental and infant well-being, and create a new model of integrated, trauma-informed care that other providers nationwide could replicate to address a critical factor influencing pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality.”
About Montefiore Health System
Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems and is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley. It is comprised of 10 hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and more than 200 outpatient ambulatory care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information please visit www.montefiore.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and LinkedIn, or view us on Facebook and YouTube.
About Mama Glow Mama Glow is the Nation's leading maternal health and education platform committed to supporting birthing people along the childbearing continuum. Mama Glow's unique market-leading curriculum has been widely recognized as the premiere education platform for inclusive birth-worker education. Mama Glow's global community of 2,500+ doulas are spread across the entire USA and 6 continents. The Mama Glow Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to advancing reproductive justice and birth equity through education, advocacy and the arts. www.mamaglow.com and www.mamaglowfoundation.org.