MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Choices Center for Reproductive Health in Memphis has been awarded a grant of more than $200,000 to help fund midwives for the area.
The grant was approved Monday by the Shelby County Commission.
This comes as the Tennessee Department of Health 2022 report indicates that Shelby County has the highest mortality rate in the state. For every 100,000 live births, 135 babies don't make it to one-year-old in the county.
Now, organizations like Choices are requesting help to fund alternative options because they say it's time to act. They said the recent abortion bans will lead to even more risky pregnancies for many women.
“The studies show there is a likelihood of an increase in deaths of mothers and infants because more women will be giving birth in risky pregnancies, so we need more access to healthcare to walk women through healthy deliveries,” said Jerri Green, Senior Policy Advisor to Mayor Lee Harris .
“Black women are dying of pregnancy-related causes at least four times as often as white women. We must do our part to end racial disparities in maternal and infant health, and this fellowship is part of the solution. Black women deserve high quality, culturally-competent providers, and we are truly honored at CHOICES to help train the next generation of midwives to care for their communities,” said Dr. Nikia Grayson, DNP, MPH, CNM, FNP, CHOICES’ Chief Clinical Officer, in a news release.
Choices said the grant will pay for two certified nurse midwifery fellows. Traditionally, midwives support holistic approaches to pregnancy and birth.