Dr. Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, FACOG, is the Chief Black Feminist Physician Scientist, Founding CEO and Owner of Birthing Cultural Rigor, LLC. She is an improvement and implementation scientist and activist grounded in a Black feminist-reproductive justice praxis with formal training and experience as community-based OBGYN and applied epidemiologist. Dr. Scott’s ethical, theoretical, and methodological approaches interrogate health services provision, evaluation, and training in antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum units as sites through which obstetric racism is enacted and imposed upon the humanity, bodies, and lives of Black women, mothers, and people, in the afterlife of slavery and passage of the Congressional Act of 1807 (which took effect in 1808, prohibiting further participation of the United States in the slave trade.).
From 2010 – 2014, she founded and lead an urban community-hospital-based initiative known as the Young Women’s Health Initiative (YWHI), the parent organization of multiple evidence-based and -informed programs and practices adapted into routine health care settings for economically marginalized, first time pregnant and parenting adults and adolescents on Chicago’s south side. With private and state funding, a community advisory boards of adults and youth of color, and a dynamic 100% Black women team including an ob-gyn, nurse supervisor, nurse home visitors, licensed clinical professional counselor, and program coordinator, YWHI offered free voluntary services such as nurse home visiting, group socialization, and infant mental health utilizing trauma informed, reproductive justice, and youth centered theories and praxes. Given the co-location of services and programs within a health care system, YWHI also provided full spectrum care for entire families beyond sexual, reproductive, and perinatal health.
By August 2021, Dr. Scott launched two Black women-led, owned, and operated consulting firms and obtained credentialing as a Principal Investigator (PI) from the Public Health Institute. As the PI, Dr. Scott designed and led a novel Black women-led participatory perinatal quality improvement research initiative, the SACRED Birth Study During COVID-19, funded by the California Health Care Foundation, the Tara Health Foundation, and an anonymous donor. SACRED Birth’s main objective is to examine Safety, Autonomy, Communication, Racism, Empathy, and Dignity in hospital labor and births during the pandemic and to validate the first and only participatory Patient Reported Experience Measure of OBstetric racism©, also known as the PREM-OB Scale™ suite (pronounced Oh-Bee). To date, the PREM-OB Scale™ suite is one of the most culturally and scientifically rigorous perinatal PREMs that operationalizes reproductive justice, research justice, and Black feminism in survey development and validation through application of the four modalities of cultural rigor: analytic framework, praxis, social movement, and vision (Scott 2020). Dr. Scott also developed the Virtual Perinatal Quality Improvement Prioritization by Affected Communities (V-QPAC) Protocol, a Black feminist ethnographic methodology to facilitate community participation in prioritizing untested socio-cultural perinatal QI recommendations across the domains in the PREM-OB ScaleTM in order to mitigate obstetric racism during hospital-based labor, birth, and postpartum. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine.