Last month, representatives from Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) had the opportunity to speak at Philadelphia’s annual B.PHL innovation fest. The event is a three day festival that looks to elevate the city of Philadelphia by highlighting the progressive, innovational organizations, people, and ideas within the community through engaging talks, interactive exhibits, exciting workshops and more. MCC was honored to be invited to talk about the policy, research, and practice related to incarcerated Philadelphia mothers. MCC also shared information about their new maternity care doula program, a program that prepares community members to serve as doulas and breastfeeding peer counselors with the goal of improving health and increasing access and awareness for Women of Color and their families. It is important to Maternity Care Coalition that all mothers and families, no matter their socio-economic standing, have access to essential information and resources as their families grow.
Rosemarie Halt, Senior Director of Policy, paired up with Megan Badovinac, Bridget Biddle, and Marjie Mogul to deliver powerful messaging through their session, “Pregnant, Parenting and Incarcerated: Advocating for Philadelphia’s Mothers in the Criminal Justice System.” This talk focused on the vastly growing number of incarcerated women in the U.S. which has increased by more than 700 percent over the last two decades. The speakers covered the long withstanding partnership between Maternity Care Coalition and the Philadelphia Department of Prisons. Their goal has been to provide comprehensive strengths-based case management services to support Philadelphia’s incarcerated and re-entering moms and families.
The panel was well-received. According to attendee Jordan Weir, “The audience was engaged and had a genuine interest in learning more about how to explore solutions for this policy issue.” Speakers dove into Maternity Care Coalition’s approach to providing services for pregnant and parenting women experiencing incarceration as well as MCC’s efforts to challenge the systemic and persistent inequalities faced by women impacted by the criminal justice system.
Additionally, Naima Black, Director, Community Doula & Breastfeeding Programs presented alongside Porsche Holland, Program Coordinator, and Tekara Gainey, Advocate, another informative session for MCC, “Revolutionizing Birth: Maternity Care Coalition’s Community Doula and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program.” This session highlighted the disproportionate burden of maternal morbidity and mortality caused by systemic barriers to limit workforce opportunities that Black and Latinx women face and how it catalyzes shifts in their health and economic trajectories. The goal of the panel was to ignite conversations in the hopes of effectively addressing the economic and social conditions that influence health while also providing meaningful economic opportunities for women in Philadelphia.
If you’d like to join the conversation or learn more about either program, please connect with us at [email protected]