As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of long-standing racial and ethnic health disparities has received renewed focus among federal policymakers. While the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color has been starkly illustrated over the past year, racial disparities in maternal health outcomes have persisted. According to CDC data, Black or African American women are at least two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts. To strengthen the federal response to this crisis, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, on February 8, reintroduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, an ambitious legislative package to comprehensively address maternal health disparities.
The updated bill includes a number of new, PAEA-supported provisions to bolster the capacity of PA education to respond to this public health crisis. Specifically, the bill would:
- Provide scholarships to underrepresented minority students seeking to specialize in perinatal health;
- Improve training for health professions students in addressing environmental hazards disproportionately impacting Black pregnant women; and
- Expand pathways into health care careers in correctional settings by supporting clinical rotation opportunities.
Please contact your representatives today and urge them to cosponsor the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. As always, thank you for your advocacy and leadership on behalf of PA education.