Greater Newark Health Care Coalition and Rutgers University Research Partnership
In collaboration with the Rutgers School of Public Health, Greater Newark Health Care Coalition (GNHCC) engaged community members as equitable partners in all phases of the project through a community-based participatory research program (CBPR).
Community members in the Greater Newark area, all of whom were mothers themselves, engaged in conversations with Black mothers who graciously shared their own lived experiences of labor, delivery, and motherhood in New Jersey.
By understanding the true challenges that mothers face when seeking health care and starting new families, GNHCC and Rutgers identified key areas where health care providers could serve as better advocates for the wellbeing of Black mothers across the state. Additionally, this research revealed key resources sought out by expecting and new parents that are reflected across this web page.
Over the course of 31 interviews, community researchers learned the following:
- A number of women reported serious health problems for themselves or their infants including hemorrhage, hypertension, postpartum infections, gestational diabetes, and the need for NICU services. Infant time in the NICU ranged from a few days to more than two months.
- There were several women who reported mental health challenges including lack of access to or reluctance to seek services.
Research revealed the need to address structural issues around the healthcare system, interactions with healthcare providers, experiences of discrimination, and the need for greater mental and social support within our communities. Improving the state of maternal health requires at every level, with participation from policymakers, health care providers, partners of birthing mothers, and community members.
What is CBPR?
What was our research approach?
How were researchers trained?
What makes CBPR beneficial?
Our researchers worked under the guidance of Rutgers School of Public Health faculty, Dr. Leslie Kantor and Dr. Teri Lassiter.
Meet Our Researchers
My name is Christiana Adams.
I am a mom of three girls and a resident of Newark, New Jersey. I am excited to be a part of this project as it is an eye opener towards the experiences of other mothers of color like myself. There is an African proverb which states, “if you haven’t been to another person’s farm, you will feel your farm is the biggest”. This project made me see the light from other mothers’ vantage points, reasoning with them and understanding their personal pain (physical, emotional, and mental). I am hoping the project helps to bring at least an iota of a solution to mothers having the best healthcare experience in Newark.
My name is Constance Akhimien.
I am a community Researcher who lives in the city of Newark. I am a mother of three beautiful children. I consider myself a social butterfly who is fully involved in her community. I am also a member of the Essex County Council for young children and a parent ambassador for GNHCC (Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition). The most exciting part of this study is the focus on African American women and people of color within my community (Newark). It was indeed a pleasurable experience interviewing mothers and hearing their experiences and suggestions on how the healthcare system can be better to make the birthing experience memorable.
My name is Fauziyya Allibay-Abdulkadir.
I have lived in Newark for three years now, and I am a brilliant mom of two. I have always believed in women having the best share of what society has to offer, and as such, I took up this offer to be a Rutgers University community researcher. I am a firm believer in the saying “be the change you want to see in society” and working on this project made me a part of that change in our colored community and I am grateful for the privilege I’ve been given. Working with other women and hearing their first-hand experiences made me understand that there is a lot of work to be done. And I believe we will get there soon.
My name is Cherriece Battle.
I am a native Newarker and a mother of a three-year-old girl. I applied to become a Researcher with the GNHCC because this would help my community. The most exciting part about it is it focuses on African/Black/Brown Americans within the community. Many times, in this particular community, women have received harsh treatment. This study is committed to making the experience of a woman becoming a mother a pleasurable one.
My name is Maria Oluwayemi.
I live in Newark and am the mom to wonderful triplets. I applied to be a community researcher so that voice of mothers in Newark can be heard. I will take the experiences I learned from the project to other mothers. It has led me to believe the needed changes are coming for women giving birth in Newark.
My name is Olanike Salimon.
I am a mother of three wonderful kids. I'm a feminist to the core, with the welfare of women in mind! This motivated me to apply to become a Researcher with GNHCC with a view to making mothers’ voices heard and making our experiences pleasant. Sharing other women’s experiences on their pregnancy-to-birth journey with other moms has been the most pleasurable part of this project. I look forward to hearing how the recommendations on this project materialize and I also look forward to gaining more insight into where more work needs to be done.