It takes 21 days to form a habit. 

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Week 4: Public Health 
Today's Challenge: Maternal and Infant Mortality
America is the most dangerous wealthy country in the world to give birth. This is, in part, due to the dramatic racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality. Toxic stress and bias in medical care mean that women of color are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications. Racism is a public health crisis and it is time to treat it as such. Take a look at the graph below to see the dramatic differences between Black and white infant mortality rates in Tennessee.

Take a look at the Tennessee Department of Health's Infant Fatality interactive dashboard to better understand the causes and disparities in infant death by region by clicking HERE.

We Challenge You To Take...

The U.S. is one of only 13 countries where the death rate is worse now than it was 25 years ago, and among the worst of the wealthiest countries in the world. Watch this video and learn why it's dramatically worse for Black women.
The history of institutionalized racism in medicine goes far deeper than most realize. Take a look at this video which shines a light on the shocking mistreatment of Black women by American medical pioneers like James Marion Sims, the "Father of Modern Gynecology."
Tennessee ranks 41st in the health of women and children. This poor ranking is due in large part to high rates of maternal and infant mortality. Read this article about how prenatal care, dental care, and postpartum care all play a role in this crisis. 
Read this article on how the negative impact of institutional racism on maternal and infant mortality for Native American women closely parallels that of African American women.
Have some extra time today? Watch this interview featuring Stacey D. Stewart, the President and CEO of March of Dimes, where she and her co-panelists grapple with the growing maternal health crisis, and how to provide every mother the best care. 

Public Health Week Action Items

Learn more about Black Mamas Matter Alliance that is referenced in above resources by clicking HERE.
Talk to your company/organization's HR department about their parental leave policy and other systems in place to support new parents.
Write a letter to your local elected officials urging them to declare racism a public health crisis. Chattanooga and Memphis already have. Here is a list of Knoxville's City Council members. 
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