Tori Bowie’s Autopsy Results Spotlight The Lingering Black Maternal Health Crisis

Bowie died last month at 32, but the official cause of her death was not announced until this week. Before Monday, the only details released about Bowie’s death was how she was found dead in her Florida home.

But according to an autopsy performed by the Orange County Medical Examiner Office, Bowie was about eight months pregnant with a “well-developed fetus” when she was found dead, USA Today reported.

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Black women are at greater risk of maternal death in the UK – here’s what needs to be done

A report on black maternal health by the House of Commons’ Women & Equalities Committee, published in March 2023, suggests some measures are already being taken by Health Education England to improve cultural competence and address racism in maternal care. But training staff to improve “cultures of kindness” and to “listen and make sure women are heard” will not be enough to fully address the complex causes of these disparities in black maternal health.

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Boston hospitals can make miracles. Yet our Black maternal health crisis persists

DMany of the state’s leading health care institutions are also helping to model and expand treatments that deliberately address health care inequity in both prenatal and postpartum care for Black birthing individuals. Mass General Brigham’s Birth Partners Program, for example, pairs Black and Indigenous birthing individuals with doulas. (A recent Massachusetts study showed use of doulas to be associated with a 39% reduction in cesarean births, reduced use of pain medication, and increased breastfeeding rates). And the Boston Public Health Commission’s Healthy Baby Healthy Child program and the Boston Healthy Start Initiative, both of which provide early intervention and treatment for symptoms of postpartum mental health disorders in Black birthing individuals.

But there is much more work to be done. The time has come for Massachusetts to eradicate health inequities through actionable institutional and policy changes. We must apply the same innovation, commitment, and shared responsibility that has made our state a national leader to ensuring an equitable future for all of our residents.

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