DOH partnered with community partners to hold listening sessions with Black and African American, African Immigrants, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander families and birth workers to understand the challenges to birth equity in our state. The listening sessions highlighted the systemic racism Washington’s birth workers and birthing families experience in Western medical establishments. Themes from these listening sessions include:
- Racism creates barriers to care and prevents the delivery of culturally appropriate care.
- Racism negatively affects the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of birth workers and the families they serve.
- Our systems have undermined the credentials of birth workers and failed to recognize lived experience as an asset.
- There is a deep need for allyship, mentorship, and co-conspirators within the birth worker community.
- The need for culturally relevant services, resources, and principles; addressing historical inequities and trust; tribal-led data sovereignty and use to address root causes; tribal-led workforce planning and development; and tribal-led nutrition work that includes food sovereignty and first foods (breast/chestfeeding).
A report on the listening sessions was prepared by the American Indian Health Commission.
Find information about Washington's birth outcomes data on the birth dashboards on the DOH website. These dashboards present birth counts and rates, fertility patterns and maternal, and infant health characteristics in Washington. Birth data are compiled from information on pregnancies and deliveries from birth certificates.
Read a detailed overview of current birth data in Washington in the 2022 Birth Equity Project data exploration (PDF).