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PEP!IN's Black Maternal Health Awareness Panel Recap

At PEP!IN—People Empowering People for Inclusion Now—we are dedicated to addressing the critical issues surrounding Black maternal health. Recently, we hosted a panel discussion entitled, Empowering Maternity: Navigating Maternal Health, Raising Our Voices, and Improving Access in Underserved Communities. The discussion brought together experts who are passionate about improving maternal health care for underserved communities. This event was a cornerstone in our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and foster change in the healthcare system, specifically as it relates to maternal health and morbidity.

Our Panel of Experts

The panel was moderated by Melva Covington and featured a diverse group of voices, each contributing unique insights and experiences:

  • Commissioner Donna Miller of Cook County’s 6th District, who discussed the intersection of healthcare policy and its impact on community health.

  • Ms. Deidre Shannon, a patient ambassador for PEP!IN, who shared her personal experiences with the maternal healthcare system, highlighting the urgent need for systemic change.

  • Dr. Serwaa Omowale, from the University of Texas Health at Houston School of Public Health, who emphasized the importance of research and targeted interventions for improving Black maternal and infant health outcomes.

  • Ms. Kamira Nimahat, a doula and maternal wellness advocate, who spoke about the empowering role of doulas in supporting families through the childbirth process.

Discussion Highlights

The panel covered several important topics, including:

  • Systemic Barriers: The need for systemic change within the healthcare system to eliminate barriers that negatively impact maternal health, especially for Black women.

  • Personal Testimonies: Insights into the personal impact of systemic inadequacies, underscoring the need for healthcare providers to listen more attentively to their patients.

  • Research-Driven Solutions: The critical role of specific, community-focused health interventions that address the unique needs of Black mothers and infants.

  • The Role of Doulas: The significant benefits that doulas provide in improving birth outcomes and overall patient satisfaction during and after pregnancy.

Call to Action

The discussion reinforced PEP!IN's commitment to advocating for comprehensive healthcare reform. Key calls to action included:

  • Increasing advocacy efforts at all levels to influence healthcare policies.

  • Educating and empowering women and families to take active roles in their healthcare decisions.

  • Ensuring the development and implementation of policies that provide culturally competent, respectful, and comprehensive care.

Moving Forward

This panel is part of PEP!IN’s broader strategy to use our platform to effect change. We are dedicated to continuing these conversations, raising awareness, and facilitating educational opportunities that empower individuals and improve clinical research initiatives, access to resources, and healthcare outcomes for all mothers, birthing people, and their families


Thank you to our panelists and all who participated in this vital discussion. Your insights are invaluable as we continue our work to ensure a more equitable healthcare system.

Stay connected with PEP!IN for more updates and events as we advance our mission to improve maternal health through advocacy, education, and community engagement.

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