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Mama Certified: A Collective Approach to Maternal and Infant Health Equity

During Black Maternal Health Week, we're pleased to share a guest post written by Cradle Cincinnati

By Danyelle Bush, Senior Media & Communication Strategist, Cradle Cincinnati

Black babies are three times more likely to die than babies of other races in Greater Cincinnati, regardless of their parents’ socio-economic status or health behaviors. Their moms, too, are far more likely to die as a result of their pregnancy.

We recognize that Black parents-to-be experience significant challenges in the healthcare world. They deserve to be free from the burden of racism, which is manifested through microaggressions, and have the right to be truly heard and in control of their healthcare needs. The proof is in the data; this is a healthcare crisis that needs to be addressed from a system level.

In 2021, Black women in Queens Village, the initiative powering Cradle Cincinnati, told us that they wanted to know what hospitals were doing to address racial inequities in birth outcomes. The Queens Village Community Advisory Board, Cradle Cincinnati and The Health Collaborative then came together to design a community-wide initiative that would do just that. Greater Cincinnati birthing hospitals were brought to the table, too — and together, we developed Mama Certified, a collective impact approach to maternal and infant health equity.

“We are excited to see local health systems come together and be more transparent with their efforts to improve maternal and infant outcomes – which Black moms in our community have been asking for,” said Dr. Meredith Shockley-Smith, executive director of Cradle Cincinnati. “By lifting Mama Certified, Cincinnati has made a clear statement that we are committed to providing birthing experiences that families want and deserve.”

Mama Certified is designed to provide Black parents-to-be with a way to assess and compare the maternal equity-related efforts of local hospital networks and encourage increased efforts toward maternal equity. A key component of this work is listening to and learning from Black parents. By doing so, we can ensure that those preparing to give birth are heard, respected, represented and offered the highest level of care in all birthing hospitals.

“Mama Certified provides an opportunity for medical systems to assess the quality of care provided to Black birthing persons by exploring services and experiences,” said Kimberly McGinnis, Queens Village advisory board member. “There is room for improvement in every medical system, and Mama Certified can serve as a guide.”

After two years of planning, Cradle Cincinnati and Queens Village are proud to announce the launch of the Mama Certified website in honor of Black Maternal Health Week. Mama Certified will officially roll out this fall.

Until then, you can stay up-to-date with Mama Certified by joining our email list; following Cradle Cincinnati on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn; and following Queens Village on Instagram and Facebook.

You can also take the Stand for Queens pledge of elevating and amplifying Black women’s voices in the fight for equity and reproductive justice.

We’d like to recognize our Mama Certified partners: Bon Secours Mercy Health, The Christ Hospital Health Network, TriHealth, UC Health, Cradle Cincinnati, Queens Village, and The Health Collaborative. Mama Certified is powered by bi3.


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