Two congresswomen, Reps. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) and Alma Adams (D-N.C.), announced last week that they have created a Black Maternal Health Caucus. The news was reported by The Hill. Rep. Underwood, a 2009 graduate of Johns Hopkins with a joint MSN/MPH from the School of Nursing and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was elected to Illinois’ 14th Congressional District last November.
Rep. Underwood said the high maternal death rate among black women in the U.S. prompted her to co-found the caucus.
The Hill reported that at least 57 members of Congress had joined the caucus by the following day, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), according to Underwood’s office.
The U.S. has a higher rate of maternal deaths than any other developed country, with 26.4 deaths per 100,000 births. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60 percent of these fatalities can be prevented. Black women are four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.Friday Letter Submission