Brooklyn Boro

Antonio Reynoso appoints Maternal Health Task Force

'Every maternal death is a tragedy’

April 11, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Borough President Antonio Reynoso on Monday announced the appointment of the initial members to his Maternal Health Task Force.

Co-chaired by NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Women’s Health Service Officer Dr. Wendy Wilcox and NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Director of Midwifery Services Helena Grant, additional members of the task force include former NYC Councilmember Hon. Una S. T. Clarke, Assistant Commissioner of Brooklyn Neighborhood Health at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Zahirah McNatt, executive director at Brooklyn Perinatal Network Inc. Ngozi Moses, and mental health advocate Christina Sparrock.

In its first phase, Borough President Reynoso’s task force will help lay the foundation for strategizing around his maternal health agenda and expanding the taskforce.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Director of Midwifery Services Helena Grant. Facebook photo

The Maternal Health Task Force fulfills Borough President Reynoso’s commitment to reduce disparities of maternal mortality and morbidity found between mothers of color and their white counterparts. Currently, Black mothers in New York City are 9.4 times more likely to die due to childbirth complications than their white counterparts.

“The initial members of our Maternal Health Task Force bring decades of expertise in maternal healthcare, wraparound services, community engagement, advocacy, and other spaces that are needed to holistically approach the crisis of maternal mortality disparities seen in our communities,” said Reynoso.

In his new position, Reynoso intends to allocate a majority of his FY23 Capital Funding to the three Brooklyn public hospitals to upgrade birthing facilities at each, including, but not limited to, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to improve patient safety, expanding birthing options, providing new opportunities for patient education, improving continuity of care, and prioritizing privacy and infection control.

Dr. Wendy Wilcox, Chief Women’s Health Service Officer for NYC Health + Hospitals. Courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals

“Every maternal death is a tragedy, not only for the grieving family and community left behind, but for society at large,” said Wilcox. “Maternal mortality is a key indicator of the health of a society, and is a reflection of the functioning of the overall health system in the United States.”

“I am humbled to accept the appointment as co-chair of Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s maternal mortality and morbidity taskforce. I am excited to work with someone so on fire for the holistic health of families,” said Grant. “I look forward to helping co-create new energy that gets activated around what we can do to empower birthing people, families, and communities to live their best lives through increased education, care, understanding, and resources.”

“I was pleased to serve as the co-chair of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Transition Team and look forward to serving on this taskforce. In my tenure in City Council, I have advocated on many health issues, including maternal health and will continue to advocate for funding and collaboration between providers, hospitals and community-based organizations to improve maternal health outcomes,” said Clarke.

Task force members were selected due to their involvement in the borough president’s transition team and helping to outline his maternal health priorities. Others were selected due to their work leading system transformations around care models in maternal health.


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