This week in the New York Times, Dr. Veronica Gillispie-Bell calls attention and offers important solutions to the United States’ increasing maternal mortality rates and the inequities embedded within them in her piece More Mothers Are Dying. It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way.
In New Jersey, where Black women are nearly seven times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, we are beginning to see what can happen when grantmakers, government, and community work together. Governor Murphy’s 2024 budget includes nearly a dozen maternal and child health-specific provisions, with over $15 million alone for the sort of postpartum home visit program Dr. Gillispie references.
These funds and programs directly reflect recommendations in the state’s Nurture NJ plan, spearheaded by First Lady Tammy Murphy with engagement not only from area funders, but also community members and leaders—critical stakeholders for truly transformational change—and a goal to make New Jersey a safer and more equitable place to give birth.
Indeed, as Dr. Gillispie-Bell made clear, the country’s healthcare system is failing. At the same time, we see a new system emerging, where accessible models of care led by trusted community members are changing narratives and outcomes and philanthropy is serving as the bridge between these groups and government partners.
We urge our colleagues in philanthropy to join us in this shift from silos to supportive, trust-based partnerships. Let’s unlock opportunities and dramatically impact the outcomes for and with birthing people together. There is no question that the need is great.