Jennie Jacoby joins me on Leading with Health to talk about Black women’s maternal health and new directions in federal policy. Jennie Jacoby is a federal policy counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Based in Washington, D.C., she leads the Center’s maternal health work in the federal space. She works closely with members of Congress and their staff on advocating for bills to end racial disparities in maternal health. Jennie also works with federal agencies to advance progressive maternal health policy.  

Highlights include:

6:10 – JJ: “So I, unfortunately, experienced the same thing that my mother experienced 32 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, her name is Sage. She is almost two years old. I had presented with symptoms of preeclampsia and my concerns were also dismissed. And just as a reminder, I am a maternal health advocate. I’m an Ivy league-educated attorney. And I fought very hard for myself to be admitted to the hospital when I had headaches, my blood pressure was through the roof. I was told to go home.”

11:11 – JJ: “I just spoke to someone, an advocate a couple of weeks back. And she was telling me a story of how she would wear her Yale sweatshirt to prenatal visits. And this is a Black woman knowing that maybe someone will see me, maybe, you know, this sweatshirt will help shield me from the bias that is, you know, unconscious – sometimes it’s explicit – but more often than not, implicit bias from these providers and her care team. And I just remember I said, I did the same, like I did the same in many situations, not just in healthcare. But it’s just so powerful that Black women and Indigenous women, especially, have to carry that burden. Of that risk that something could happen to you on what is supposed to be the most joyous moment of your life.”,

19:10 – JJ: “The Black Maternal Health Caucus was launched. A lot of legislation has been put out over the years but something that’s I think really, really salient is what the Caucus did over the past year. Which is to put forth a comprehensive bill package that was meant to be additive of the other bills that have been out there. And it’s called the Momnibus Act. It’s just an adorable name, too – Mom with Omnibus -because it’s a giant package. And it covers things from protecting veteran moms and Indigenous women and diversifying the healthcare workforce through all these different grant programs and studies to really move forward racial equity and maternal health care.”

25:31 – JJ: “We are so, so excited to have (Kamala Harris) … she has been a fierce, fierce champion on proactive reproductive rights issues and maternal health, specifically during her time in the Senate. She introduced and re-introduced the Black Maternal Health Week Resolution. She had her own maternal health bill and she sponsored and introduced the Momnibus package in the Senate. So we’re talking about someone who is very steeped in this policy, has worked very closely with the Center and our partners on these issues.”

Leading with Health is hosted by Jennifer Michelle. Jennifer has a Master’s in Public Health and Epidemiology and is a certified EMT. As President of Michelle Marketing Strategies, Jennifer specializes in healthcare marketing. She is on a mission to create a healthcare system that actually cares about the patients and the providers.