There’s a health crisis going on outside no man is safe from.

This is especially true in New York City where racial disparities in maternal health outcomes are stark. Black women are three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a recent CNN report, newly-elected Mayor Eric Adams contends to combat those numbers by expanding the Citywide Doula Initiative, which he announced Wednesday, Mar. 30. The program, which will offer three prenatal home visits from a trained doula for 500 families, will assist those who may not have sufficient access to advanced-practice providers.

The city will also expand the doula workforce by training 50 doulas by the end of June, certifying 70 others, and also expanding the citywide Midwifery Initiative, according to the statement. This will now allow the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to gather data on births and care with midwives.

According to Mayor Adams, the doula initiative is part of a larger project to reduce racial inequalities in maternal health.

“The root causes of racial disparities in maternal health are real, so it’s time we do right by every mother and every baby, no matter the color of their skin or the language they speak,” said the mayor. “By expanding and investing in both doulas and midwives, we are taking the steps necessary to begin to address the disparities in maternal deaths, life-threatening complications from childbirth, and infant mortality.”

Doulas are a key tool in combating those disparities caused by racism and improving outcomes for mothers and babies.

“Expanding the role of these two crucial initiatives is essential to recovering from COVID and addressing the inequities that already existed in maternal health, especially in communities of color,” said New York City Council Member Lynn Schulman, according to the press statement.

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