Dr. Zenobia Harris
We are enthusiastic and excited about expanding the opportunity for Arkansans and others to participate in the Underground Railroad for New Life’s journey to enhance birth outcomes for Women in Arkansas and beyond!
Birthing Project USA’s founder -Kathryn Hall -Trujillo- and her experiment which began over 30 years ago to provide social support to community women during pregnancy has grown into an international phenomenon. Communities invest in local birthing projects to help ensure the well-being of future generations.
Arkansas is no stranger to the poor health outcomes affecting Mothers and babies of color in the U.S. Arkansas has the 3rd highest rate of African American maternal death and the 6th highest Infant Mortality rate in the U.S. Women in our communities continue to share their less than satisfactory birth experiences and the pain associated with being ignorred, disrespected and talked down to when they enter health care environments. They deserve better. You can help!
I invite you to learn more about the Birthing Project. Let us know how we can help you form a Birthing Project in your community!
Alice Rogers-Johnson, MSN, RNP
Overview of the Birthing Project
Birthing Project USA: The Underground Railroad to New Life …is a volunteer effort to encourage better birth outcomes by providing practical support to women during pregnancy and for one year after the birth of the baby. Founded in 1988 by Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, Birthing Project USA is the only African American maternal and child health program in the country. It is often referred to as the underground railroad of our times.
While workers on the Underground Railroad lead African Americans from physical slavery, the Birthing Project feels that women who are "freed" to the point of functioning in our own society are going back and leading other women to "freedom", one by one. The program allows women who understand and are able to function within their perspective community services to be a link between women who need services and those who provide them.
A major challenge in overcoming the problems that lead to unhealthy pregnancies and unhealthy babies is the mother's lack of knowledge or understanding about the causes and ways to prevent unhealthy birth outcomes. By utilizing the "Sister-Friend" approach, we hope to identify and address those barriers one community at a time.
Since its inception, the Birthing Project model has been replicated in more than 107 communities in 7 countries globally and ensured more than 13,000 babies have been born as healthy as possible.
Additionally, BPUSA has facilitated almost 10,000 women to receive Safe Birth Kits in Haiti, Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana! Request from U.S. and other countries wanting us to assist them in establishing volunteer projects in their own communities have increased in the past five years.