Health & Exercise

Why Black Mothers & Infants Are Dying At Greater Rates

The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation is inviting area residents interested in prenatal and infant care to an upcoming event on Thursday, June 15, 2023, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., featuring Dr. Lauren Dungy-Poythress, associate professor of Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
Dungy-Poythress’s presentation will focus on recognizing, understanding and addressing implicit bias and its impact on Black women and maternal health. The event is scheduled for Thursday June 15, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Saint Francis North Campus Auditorium, 2702 Spring St. Attendance is free but registration is required here: Space is limited.

“Infant mortality rates in Fort Wayne are among the highest in the state and the country, and maternal health disparities are equally alarming,” says Meg Distler, executive director of the St. Joe Foundation. “Black women are three to four times more likely to die during or within one year of the end of pregnancy than white women. For Black women in Indiana, the maternal mortality rate is 93% higher than the rate for white women. This is unacceptable. Dr. Dungy-Poythress will help us better understand this critical issue and ways it can be addressed in our community.”

The St. Joe Foundation hosts quarterly meetings of the Prenatal and Infant Care Network to facilitate educational opportunities for service providers, as well as present opportunities for collaboration. Member agencies of the Prenatal and Infant Care Network Steering Committee include: Healthier Moms and Babies, A Hope Center, Lutheran Health Network, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana, McMillen Health, Dr. Lora Overton, Parkview Health and Women’s Care Center.

Dungy-Poythress is an accomplished, board-certified physician specializing in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and brings to her patients and their physicians more than 25 years of perinatology experience. She has designed, developed, and led successful Maternal-Fetal Medicine offices and/or programs in three states. She earned her medical degree from The University of Michigan’s Medical School. This was followed by residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Ann Arbor, Michigan and subspecialty training in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Dungy-Poythress has presented lectures at numerous conferences and medical schools, has been published in various medical journals, presented at national forums, made numerous television appearances, and received research and teaching awards. She has a special interest in equity, inclusion, and disparities in healthcare. One fun fact about Dungy-Poythress is that she is the sister of former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

The St. Joe Foundation is sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and works to serve vulnerable populations in four impact areas: Prenatal & Infant Care, Nutrition & Food Insecurity, Access to Quality, Affordable Healthcare, and Refugees & Immigrants.

The Waynedale News Staff
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