Black Maternal Health: Historical and Reproductive Justice Reckonings

Thursday, October 1, 2020
3:30-5:00 pm EDT

Please register for this online event.

Join us to examine the profound health inequities around giving birth, further laid bare by the COVID pandemic. Discussions with experts will include how slavery and the history of reproductive medicine intersect, the impact that medical racism has on Black birthing people from slavery to freedom, engagement in the national reproductive justice movement, and recent efforts to address racial inequities in maternal mortality and morbidity in New York City.


Deirdre Cooper Owens is the Linda and Charles Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is an Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lecturer, a past American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Research Fellow, and has won a number of prestigious honors for her scholarly and advocacy work in reproductive and birthing justice. A popular public speaker, Dr. Cooper Owens has spoken widely across the U.S. and Europe. She has published articles, essays, book chapters, and think pieces on a number of issues that concern African American experiences and reproductive justice. Her first book, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2017) won the 2018 Darlene Clark Hine Book Award from the Organization of American Historians as the best book written in African American women’s and gender history.

Lynn Roberts earned a BS in human development from Howard University (1984) and a PhD in Human Services Studies from Cornell University (1991). She is Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Alumni Relations and a tenured faculty member in the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. Prior to CUNY, she oversaw the development, implementation and evaluation of several programs for women and youth in New York City. She is an emeritus board member of the Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and co-edited the anthology, Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique (Feminist Press, November 2017).

Singer/songwriter, actress, poet, educator, and writer Lacresha Berry will provide an artistic performance at the start of the event.

This event is produced in partnership with The New York Academy of Medicine, as part of its Race & Health series.