(Washington, DC) – Mayor Bowser today announced that at least six mayors from across the country will join her at Washington, DC’s first Maternal and Infant Health Summit on September 12. Together, Mayor Bowser and Mayors Karen Freeman-Wilson (Gary, IN), Toni N. Harp (New Haven, CT), Vi Lyles (Charlotte, NC), Catherine Pugh (Baltimore, MD), Lovely A. Warren (Rochester, NY), and Karen Weaver (Flint, MI) will work with experts to develop a nationwide agenda that addresses the disproportionally high rates of maternal mortality experienced by people of color in Washington, DC and across the nation.
“This summit is about addressing issues that affect mothers, babies, and families here in DC and across the entire nation – and talking about solutions,” said Mayor Bowser. “By working together, we can move closer to ensuring all women have access to high-quality health care before, during, and after child birth.”
The summit, which is free and open to the public, is an opportunity for elected officials, health experts, and DC residents to have a focused conversation regarding perinatal health and racial disparities in birth outcomes. The event will feature panel discussions and a luncheon geared towards articulating and sharing best infant and maternal health practices.
“The opportunity to hold a healthy newborn is one of the most precious moments in a parent’s life. That opportunity is stolen from far too many families and replaced with heartbreak because mothers don’t have access to quality health care. We must do everything in our power to prevent these tragedies and protect those precious moments,” said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.
“New Haven is a diverse and emerging city, and when it comes to maternal and infant health, New Haven is a leader in preventing preterm birth to provide more babies a healthy start in life. Government leaders and healthcare providers have made critical investments to identify, reduce, and eliminate racial disparities in the local public health system,” said Mayor Toni N. Harp. “We are intentional about engaging the entire community, providing bicultural and bilingual health information and services for pregnant and parenting women and their families. Our values reinforce this approach to protecting maternal and infant health to a diverse population.”
“When it comes to protecting the health and wellness of babies and their mothers, I can’t think of a more noble mission,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “I am thrilled to contribute to this worthy cause, for the benefit of families in Charlotte, North Carolina and across the nation.”
“Baltimore has been a leader in the fight against perinatal disparities in maternal and infant health for more than 27 years, as one of fifteen communities to receive the Federal Healthy Start grant in 1991. Today, Baltimore Healthy Start continues to serve fragile families throughout the city employing the most current, evidence-based innovations and best practices. Maternal and infant health depends on strong, vibrant, and healthy communities. We leverage collaborations with federally-qualified health centers and serve as liaison between formal systems of care and community. We strive to be a city where the social determinants are not an insurmountable barrier to positive health outcomes. It’s our highest priority to promote good health and access to essential resources, while enhancing economic opportunity for all people,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh.
“We all benefit from hearing from other mayors and community leaders, learning from them, sharing what’s worked as we seek to improve the health of mothers and babies, and addressing the gap in outcomes for many minority mothers and babies in our communities,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “We all know healthy babies need healthy mothers no matter where they live, and we are all eager to ensure our youngest residents get the best possible start in life.”
“I am excited to participate in such an important summit. If it is possible to put an end to, or at the very least, lower the number of preventable deaths among all women, children, and adolescents, and improve their health and well-being, then we should do everything in our power to make this happen. I look forward to discussing the support and resources available, as well as what is still needed,” said Mayor Karen Weaver.
To learn more and to RSVP for Mayor Bowser’s Maternal and Infant Health Summit, visit dcmaternalhealth.com.