Q&A with Tammy Boyd, Chief Policy Officer and Senior Counsel
at the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI):
Modern Medicaid Alliance: How has the Black Women’s Health Imperative been involved in initiatives to improve maternal health?
Tammy Boyd: BWHI is part of Representative Lauren Underwood’s Black Maternal Health Caucus, and BWHI helped to draft the [Black Maternal Health] Momnibus. In addition, BWHI regularly writes op-eds on this topic, and is engaged in local community outreach. Also, BWHI is are launching a webinar series with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women about various maternal health issues, including implicit bias. Furthermore, BWHI will be participating in a black women’s maternal health Hill Day with March of Dimes.
Modern Medicaid Alliance: Do you have a sense of how COVID-19 is impacting maternal health for black women?
Tammy Boyd: Due to their circumstance, pregnant women are dealing with COVID-19 to a heightened degree. During the pandemic, pregnant women need COVID-free doctor’s offices and hospital wards for care and delivery. Unfortunately, most pregnant women have undergone the rigors of childbirth alone, since visitors are now being restricted in hospitals. Currently, women who consider having children wondering what maternity care will look like post-COVID.
Modern Medicaid Alliance: What is BWHI doing to help pregnant women through this time?
Tammy Boyd: We are conducting webinars and educating the community. Additionally, through our programs and webinars, we are hearing who black women trust, so we can then formulate policies, raise awareness, and help advocate for more impactful legislation on the Hill.
Modern Medicaid Alliance: Have you created any specific resources for women to use?
Tammy Boyd: Yes, we’ve created quite a few resources for pregnant women, mothers and families, and it’s all housed on a new part of our site called coronavirus.bwhi.org.
On that page, we offer an online resource called, “Giving Birth During Coronavirus Can Be Scary, But These Experts Have Tips On How You Can Advocate For Yourself And Have A Safe Delivery.” We’ve also hosted various webinars, including one that focuses on critical COVID-19 issues for families, such as what to do with kids at home, social distancing and how to deal with loss of income. Finally, we’ve created a series of small videos about COVID-19 that we call Black and Well Health TV. In all of these resources, we seek to help people understand how important it is to share facts, not fears.