Having a baby is one of the most wonderful things that can happen in a person’s life, but racism and disparate treatment in hospitals too often make the experience more difficult for Black women. And it isn’t merely about having a less pleasant experience: the CDC says that in the US, Black women are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes than white women.
In order to bring attention to the issue, but more importantly to help Black mamas share their stories and to better create public accountability around Black maternal and infant care, Friday, June 25th, influencers, celebrities, and advocates will answer calls to 800-450-IRTH from noon to 8pm Eastern for the first national telethon to capture Black birthing and pediatric experiences of care.
Black parents who have given birth in the past two years are invited to call 855-450-IRTH and leave a review of their Ob/Gyn, birthing hospital or pediatrician appointments as part of a nationwide effort to create public accountability in the medical system.
The “Irth-A-Thon” will compile information and reviews a new Yelp-like app called, Irth.The founders explain that the name is like birth, but without the b for bias. Irth allows Black expecting and new parents to find and leave reviews of their prenatal, birthing and pediatric experiences of care, up to the baby’s first birthday. Users can search for reviews by doctor and hospital name and by city, state or zip code to see if other Black parents have recommended a provider.
On the back end, Irth turns the qualitative reviews into quantitative data, identifying hospitals and providers who are doing well and providing real-time, patient-reported insights to help improve those with poor reviews.
Kimberly Seals Allers, the app’s founder, said in a statement that her intention for the app is to give parents better information. “Irth is a powerful digital platform to leverage our consumer power to push for transparency, accountability, and systemic change in the medical system and to generate up to date, never-seen-before data directly from Black and brown parents for hospitals to do more than just take an anti-bias training and tick the box. “But we only have strength in numbers, we need everyone to leave reviews so we can inform our community on where we are being treated respectfully and where we are not.”
Actress Angela Lewis of Snowfall on FX, award-winning civil rights attorney and talk show host Areva Martin Esq., Charles Johnson of 4Kira4Moms, celebrity doula and founder of MamaGlow, Latham Thomas, and a couple dozen other celebrities and influencers will take calls.
Tonya Lewis Lee, Christy Turlington Burns, and Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter will also be making special video appearances. Callers who leave reviews will be entered to win cash and prizes!