Release Date: September 26, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Improving maternal health outcomes is the focus of “A Mother Pearl Young Legacy Forum on Hope and Healing: Advancing Key Maternal Health Policies,” which will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.
The event is sponsored by the Buffalo Center for Health Equity, the UB Community Health Equity Research Institute and Acuity Productions.
What: “A Mother Pearl Young Legacy Forum on Hope and Healing: Advancing Key Maternal Health Policies.”
When & where: Noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, in the M&T Auditorium in the Jacobs School, 955 Main St., Buffalo.
Who: Speakers include:
Free and open to the public, the forum was planned by relatives of Young’s in conjunction with UB faculty and staff as a way to remember Young and her impact on the community.
Interested individuals should register online.
Allen Dewane, a relative of Young’s, a 1993 UB alumnus and CEO of Acuity Productions, explained how the forum’s themes of social determinants of health and health equity are directly related to concerns that were close to Young’s heart.
Young had studied health and nutrition and earned her degree at UB in gerontology studies. She was a longtime volunteer with the Central Park food pantry.
And as the mother of three, the grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of seven, the focus on maternal health was a natural.
It also couldn’t be more urgent, says Rita Hubbard Robinson, JD, chief executive officer of NeuWater & Associates, LLC, treasurer of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity and associate director of UB’s Community Health Equity Research Institute.
“In May, the CDC reported that Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, with most of the maternal deaths being preventable,” she explains. “This heightened risk spans all income and education levels.”
That problem is a key concern and focus of the forum’s keynote speaker, Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, founding president of the Maryland Osteopathic College of Medicine at Morgan State University, the first African American woman to lead a U.S. medical school and a nationally known advocate for addressing health inequities.
“Dr. Ross-Lee’s background in women’s health and policy puts her in a unique position to share and teach us about the impact of policy and how maternal health systems change must include advocacy and legislation if we are to achieve better health outcomes for Black mothers,” says Hubbard Robinson.
As chief of maternal-fetal medicine, and a physician with UBMD Obstetrics & Gynecology, Waters knows this firsthand.
“Maternal morbidity and mortality have increased steadily in the United States,” he says. “Remarkably, we are the only country in the developed world with rising rates. Maternal mental health is a significant, and underappreciated, contributor to maternal mortality. Our seminar will provide perspective on causes and propose solutions.”