AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — The Atlantic City NAACP has launched a pilot for the first community-based Maternal Experience Survey (MES) for Women of Color.
This survey will empower mothers of color to share their prenatal, birth and delivery experiences, and will be the first tool to not only collect experiential data across multiple care settings, but also provide critical personal feedback which can be used to help improve healthcare delivery.
“This project is one of our priority agenda items,” said Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, President of the Atlantic City NAACP. “The health disparity for New Jersey communities of color must be closed then eliminated. Our Taskforce and their survey and toolkit is a start in our effort to address and solve this civil rights and social justice issue.”
In 2020, the AC NAACP formed the Black Infant and Maternal Mortality (BIMM) task force to address the significant maternal health disparity which is resulting in preventable deaths across the state. Black mothers in New Jersey are four times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy-related complications, and a Black baby is three times more likely to die before their first birthday.
Atlantic City statistics have been of particular concern to city leadership and local citizens, so the BIMM task force has worked together for over a year to raise awareness of this issue. The taskforce includes participation from community providers such as AtlantiCare, Family Health Initiatives and Acenda Integrated Health, as well as local and state elected officials including Assemblyman John Armato and Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick.
The new Survey will provide the first opportunity for healthcare providers, local stakeholders, elected officials and expectant parents to view patient experiences across the span of maternal healthcare, and to make decisions in the community’s best interest. The data will provide a higher level of transparency related to instances of racial and cultural bias in healthcare which have been proven to contribute to rising health disparities.
“New Jersey has established itself as a progressive state unafraid of addressing complicated and tough issues,” said Sherolde Hackett, MSW, LSW, a Project Director at the Prematurity Prevention Initiative and a member of the BIMM Taskforce. “The Maternal Experience Survey is an opportunity for various care settings to draw information from those they serve and to use the information to be a trajectory into providing quality care for all patients. It’s undeniable,” said Hackett. “Healthcare settings unafraid of acknowledging the incessant and damaging impact of implicit bias are in the best position to lead us toward equitable and quality healthcare for all in New Jersey — especially women of color.”
The pilot for the MES will be focused on Atlantic and Essex Counties, with future expansion planned.
“We can no longer allow Black and Brown Babies to die at birth or prematurely and allow Black and Brown Women to be mistreated in the Health Care system,” said Councilman Shabazz. “We are determined, dedicated and focused on winning this battle.”
The survey has been provided to key community stakeholders directly, and is also accessible for download at the following sites: