Health Equity in Our Community
Definitions: What is Health Equity?
Health Equity means that everyone has a fair opportunity to lead a long and healthy life. That requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences—including powerlessness, lack of access to good jobs, fair pay, education, housing, environments, and health care for all who live in America.
What does Birth Equity mean? Birth Equity Is the assurance of the conditions of optimal births for all people with a willingness to address racial and social inequalities in a sustained effort.
What do we know? There are several factors that have led to the disparities we see in birth outcomes. Some of these include racism, implicit bias, and factors related to the social determinants of health.
Maternal deaths are on the rise for all moms in the US.
The rate of maternal deaths has doubled over the last 25 years. More than 700 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications, and 60 percent of these deaths are preventable. Though maternal death is an issue for all women, black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. This disparity is consistent regardless of education and economic status. According to the CDC, black mothers with a college degree are 5.2 times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts.
In 2017, the infant mortality rate for black babies in Knox County was four-and-a-half times that of white babies, and the rate of black babies born at a low birth rate was almost two-and-a-half times that of white babies. Though only 10 percent of the population in Knox County is Black, Black families suffered 37 percent of the infant deaths in 2017.
Local Efforts and Events
In response to these disparities, we have formed the Knox Birth Equity Alliance (KBEA), a team of public health professionals, medical professionals, and community members working together to develop strategies aimed at reducing disparities in Knox County. The KBEA is dedicated to bringing awareness, education, and support to the Knoxville birthing community.
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