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Addressing Maternal and Infant Health Disparities

Illustration of a Black pregnant woman beneath a pair of rolling dice, to depict maternal and infant health disparities
Illustration by Minnesota Physician

In America, Black women are 3-4 times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than White women. It’s past time to address maternal and infant health disparities in the healthcare system.

Wayside CEO Ruth Richardson and Primary Care Medical Services Director Dr. Alice Mann co-authored this month’s cover story about maternal and infant health disparities in Minnesota Physician, a leading publication for medical professionals in the state.

Their editorial outlines the stark racial disparities in today’s maternal healthcare system and lays out strategies to address them.

The United States has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate among comparable countries. Nationally, U.S.-born Black women have the worst maternal mortality and morbidity outcomes of any racial group. They are 3-4 times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than White women. 

Read the full cover story at Minnesota Physician


Wayside Recovery Center understands that the maternal and infant mortality crisis cannot be adequately addressed without understanding and dismantling racism and bias in our medical and behavioral health systems. We also understand that the complexities of the crisis require community-based responses. This means not only addressing the stigma associated with substance use disorders and mental illness, but also recognizing the inequalities that persist across the behavioral health system.

We owe it to the women and families we serve to play an active role in addressing healthcare gaps.

To that end, Wayside is hosting an education series focusing on maternal and infant health disparities. It is our honor to host national expert Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, Ph.D., MPH, for the inaugural event.

Dr. Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on measuring and addressing the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation. This session will set the foundation for understanding the impacts of systemic racism on health and strategies for reducing disparities. All future topics in our series will build upon this important framework.

The free virtual event will take place on Tuesday, June 29th from 9:30 – 11:30 am CST. There will be an opportunity for interactive Q+A, and seats are limited. We hope that you can join us for this important discussion.

Register now for Dr. Camara Jones’ talk “Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis”


Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones is a past president of the American Public Health Association and was the 2019-2020 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Rollins School of Public Health and served as a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP will be introducing Dr. Jones at our event. Dr. Chomilo is cofounder of Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity, Medicaid Medical Director for the Minnesota Department of Human Services and adjunct faculty at University of Minnesota Medical School. He currently leads the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine equity team.