- Rebecca Polston, CPM, LM
- Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH
- Katy Kozhimannil, PhD, MPA
Research Project Description
For African American women, prenatal care often fails to account for the need of culturally focused care that considers the role of institutional and interpersonal racism in their day-to-day experiences and encounters in the health care system. The overarching goal of IRL Team Minneapolis is that African American moms in Minneapolis and beyond will have access to care options that support a good birth. Their IRL research project was designed to test the hypothesis that a culturally focused care is a predictor of improved outcomes. The team explored the role of an African American-owned birth center in improving: 1) breastfeeding initiation and duration; 2) family cohesion and empowerment; 3) management of psychosocial stress during pregnancy. The team also aimed to understand and document best practices for culturally centered prenatal care.
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Rebecca Polston, CPM, LM
Rebecca Polston is the founder of Roots Community Birth Center and a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). She established Roots Community Birth Center in North Minneapolis to bring quality, expert, culturally centered care to women of all backgrounds. Mrs. Polston is the first African American CPM in the state of Minnesota.
Rachel Hardeman, PhD, MPH
Rachel Hardeman is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. As a health equity researcher, her work examines structural racism’s contemporary influence on health with a particular focus on the persistent inequities in birth outcomes experienced by Black women. The overarching goal of her work is to contribute to a body of knowledge that links structural racism to health, identifies opportunities for intervention, and ultimately dismantles the systems, structures, and institutions that have allowed health inequities to persist.
Katy Kozhimannil, PhD, MPA
Katy Kozhimannil is an Associate Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Director of Research at the Rural Health Research Center. Her research informs the development, implementation, and evaluation of health policy that improves the health and well-being of women, infants, and families, with a focus on people and communities that experience disproportionate vulnerability and exhibit extraordinary resilience.
IRL Issue Brief: Minneapolis