Governor’s Advisory Commissions, DOH Acting Secretary and Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus Host a Discussion about Black Maternal Health

Harrisburg, Pa – Yesterday, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Women and the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs joined Representative Gina H. Curry, Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen, and lawmakers from the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus to host a panel discussion and screening of the documentary, Aftershock, at the Pennsylvania State Museum. Members of the panel discussed maternal mortality rates in Pennsylvania and highlighted the solutions to address the crisis. 

The Shapiro-Davis Administration is committed to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity in Pennsylvania. During his first year in office, Governor Josh Shapiro secured $2.3 million to expand maternal health programming and signed Senate Bill 262 to ensure improved access to timely data on maternal health and maternal mortality in Pennsylvania – allowing researchers, doctors, and policymakers to make more informed decisions about medical care for moms and families.

“As the Second Lady of Pennsylvania, a longtime advocate for Black maternal health and a new mom myself, I am proud that the Shapiro-Davis Administration is making this public health crisis a top priority,” said Second Lady of Pennsylvania Blayre Holmes Davis in video remarks shared at the event. “Black women – including high-profile people like Serena Williams and Allyson Felix, as well as health care providers and moms – have been shouting from the rooftops about the Black maternal health crisis, and their voices are finally being heard and experiences acknowledged. Now we need to empower Black women. By working together, we will improve outcomes for Black moms and babies and save lives and families.”

“The tragic and unacceptable reality of maternal mortality is far too common in the U.S. and Pennsylvania,” said Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen. “Every death of a new mother impacts their entire community. In Pennsylvania, Black women are two times more likely to die related to pregnancy and childbirth than white women. It is essential that we come together – government and community leaders along with healthcare professionals, and others – to identify and address the root causes of maternal morbidity and mortality. I am committed to this work along with my colleagues in the Shapiro-Davis administration to improve the health of all mothers and their families.”

“I am honored to be a part of this event. Empowering Black maternal health through awareness and education is not just a commitment to women – it’s an investment in the wellbeing and resilience of future generations,” said Anette Nance, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. “Last year, the Shapiro-Davis Administration delivered historic investments and commonsense solutions for Pennsylvanians. As Executive Director, I’m committed to building on this work along with the Women’s Commission and driving this conversation forward in our communities.”

“The statistics don’t lie. Women in Pennsylvania, especially Black women, are suffering at high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, and we must stop the tragic outcomes around birthing babies. As we continue to work on this issue of accessibility and affordability of care, we remember those who have lost their lives and have been directly impacted on this Maternal Health Awareness Day,” said State Representative Gina H. Curry. “As a co-chair of the PA Black Maternal Health Caucus, I am determined to fight through programming such as the Aftershock documentary screening, partnering with stakeholders and advocates, advancing legislation, education and action around maternal healthcare and the change that is needed to put an end to this crisis.” 

“As a Black OB/GYN physician, the Black maternal health crisis affects me both professionally and personally. Understanding maternal health statistics is important, and investing in SOLUTIONS to the Black maternal health crisis is critical! Diversifying the perinatal workforce is one of many solutions to improve maternal health outcomes,” said Dr. Sharee Livingston, Commissioner, Governor’s Advisory Commission on Women. “We need all forces working together to reverse worsening trends of maternal health disparities that lead too often to preventable deaths in Black communities.”


Moriah Hathaway, Executive Director,

Mark O’Neill, DOH,

PA Black Maternal Health Caucus,


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