“Equity Begins Before Birth” at New Jersey City University

On Tuesday, November 19, students from the Health Planning class at New Jersey City University hosted “Equity Begins Before Birth”, a health education presentation session.  The project was the culmination of a semester-long focus on health equity and racial disparities in maternal & infant health led by Dr. Erin K. O’Neill.  When compared to Caucasians, the Centers for Disease Control notes that Black (non-Hispanic) women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, and the infant death rate is 2.3 times higher for Black infants.

Dr. O’Neill shared, “When we think of health disparities, we have to look at the causes.  How is it that we can make headway to improve maternal and infant care, but leave an entire group of people behind? I wanted the students to understand how policies have a direct impact on health and their role as advocates.”

Marie Kinsella and Dr. Erin O’Neill pose in a selfie frame to raise awareness of maternal health disparities.

Health equity is at the core of the Partnership’s mission.  Through our Healthy Women, Healthy Families initiative which is generously funded by the New Jersey Department of Health, the Partnership team provided insight and support for the students.  Their innovative projects focused on community activism, healthy pregnancies, immigration issues, breastfeeding education, and much more.

“Our young people are change agents for the future,” stated Marie Kinsella, the Partnership’s Director of Community Programs.  “Maternal health is about the care you receive before birth.  The students need to understand that and take up this cause.”

We’re inspired by these students and their commitment to eliminating racial disparities in health.

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