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Rockford healthcare leaders, Illinois congresswomen address maternal health gap for black women

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Black women are roughly 3 times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's an issue that brought members of Congress to Rockford Monday.

"It's important for African American women to know that they have options when it comes to their healthcare, and that they are important," Quad Cities resident Miranda Tingle said at a roundtable discussion at SwedishAmerican Hospital. Tingle is a black woman who is pregnant.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, from 2008-2016, an average of 73 women died within a year of birth due to pregnancy-associated complications, annually.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D) IL 17th District and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D) IL 14th District hosted the discussion on black maternal health.

Rep. Bustos says the issue lies in the lack of available resources, something that she and others have a plan to fix.

"The legislation that we've written would allow communities all over this country access to $1 million grants to come up with some of those answers," Bustos said. "If you have answers to some of that, that's how you address those issues."

Bustos and Underwood hope to bring this legislation forward when they return to Washington, D.C.

The following healthcare professionals were at the discussion: President and CEO Jennifer Maher, SwedishAmerican, Dr. Howard Kaufman, Maternal Fetal Medicine, SwedishAmerican, Dr. Corrine Maund, OB/GYN at Riverwest Clinic, SwedishAmerican, Evonda Thomas-Smith, Assistant Director of Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Sandra Martell, Director of Winnebago County Health Department, Sam Miller, President/CEO at Crusader Community Health, Linnette Carter, Mercyhealth.

Breane Lyga

Breane Lyga is the content manager at 13 WREX. She joined the team in 2015 as the 5, 6 and 10PM news producer after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She was 13 WREX’s assignment editor from 2017 to 2018.

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