Kimberly Seals Allers: Fighting to Lower Black and Brown Maternal Mortality Rates

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

Kimberly Seals Allers: Power Mom

Kimberly Seals Allers is that human. She speaks truth to power and is the mother that women and, more importantly, Black and Latina mothers have in their corner.

A former editor of Essence and writer at Fortune, she is also an award-winning journalist, author, international speaker, strategist, and, most importantly, an advocate for maternal and infant health. Kimberly is fighting for racial equity in birth and breastfeeding and to end the unconscionably high Black maternal mortality rates.

Something that is much needed in New York. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stated last year, “Over the past decade, New York State has experienced a 60 percent increase in maternal mortality. According to the NYS Department of Health, the rate of maternal deaths in New York City has risen from 18.7 per 100,000 live births in 2007 to 31 per 100,000 live births in 2015. Racial disparities are also very evident, particularly in New York City, where more than half of all births in the state take place. In New York City, Black women are estimated to be up to 12 times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than white women and are three times more likely to suffer from life-threatening complications according to a 2018 study.”

As we have seen with the recent deaths of Bronx mother Amber Rose Issac and new mother Sha-Asia Washington from Brooklyn, this is startlingly true and downright frightening. Kimberly Seals Allers knows this needs to change. To empower Black and brown mothers before they go to a hospital, she developed an app called Irth — as in Birth but without the B for bias — where mothers of color can share their experiences of care, and pregnant women and new moms can find a hospital or doctor review from a fellow mother who is like them.

We chatted with this born and raised in St.Albans, Queens mom on the state of Black and brown mothers and why the Irth app matters.

Read the rest of this article on Kimberly Seals Allers at New York Family!