Urban Perinatal Education Center launching Rhode Island Certified Professional Midwifery Equity Initiative

Pawtucket, RI October 2, 2023: Urban Perinatal Education Center (UPEC) is partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to establish a community-based midwifery workforce in RI and improve perinatal outcomes in the State of Rhode Island. The mission of the Urban Perinatal Education Center is to create a space for perinatal equity through three lenses: culturally congruent care and community, supporting equity in care, and building a workforce for change. Through the Maternal Health Innovation grant UPEC is implementing the Certified Professional Midwifery (CPM) Initiative alongside other maternal health projects with RIDOH. The collaborative development plans to promote a culturally competent midwifery program with a focus on attracting a more diverse student body will serve to provide concordant care to people of reproductive age in Rhode Island, as midwives of color are uniquely positioned to address the economic, political, and social determinants of health that impact people of color.

Executive Director and Founder, Quatia Osorio, states, “this is a maternal innovative model approach in preparation of future health professionals underutilized within Rhode Island by increasing accessibility to community based primary practitioners for perinatal equity.” Rhode Island’s beloved known RI Home Birth closed leaving many families with almost no alternative options for out of hospital births. This initiative focuses on developing our local CPM workforce to meet the cultural and diverse birthing choices reflective of our birthing population.

The recent report Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Maternal, Infant, and Young Children's Health in Rhode Island by RI Kids Count highlights the lack of the accessibility, and supports necessary for the historically longest standing primary care practitioners worldwide.

Grassroots maternal and child health advocates have been doing the work to address these unacceptable disparities in health outcomes for a long time,” said Kaitlyn Rabb, Policy Analyst at Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. “The voices of those with lived experiences tells more than numbers and data can show — that this crisis is directly impacting many Women and Families of Color inRhode Island. We must listen to, advocate for, and uplift these efforts because they know what is needed to reduce these disparities and move Rhode Island in the right direction.” *

The RI Certified Perinatal Midwifery Initiative addresses the disparaging data on Black and BIPOC maternal health birth outcomes in the state of Rhode Island. The efforts of the Urban Perinatal Education Center are intentionally centered in equity promotion for health care and in support of the implementation of a culturally concordant and congruent CPM workforce.

*Excerpt from the RI Kids Count Media Release on Maternal Disparities Media Release