The California Black Birth Justice Agenda: Unifying the Vision for Systemic Change 2023

Explore strategies for systemic change in the healthcare and public health domains to build longer-term, upstream, sustainable solutions that advance birth justice and equity for Black families.

  • Dana Sherrod, MPH
  • Esther Priscilla Ebuehi, MS
    Candice Charles, MPH
    Asaiah Harville, IBCLC
    Solaire Spellen, MPH
    Alexis Cobbins, MSW
    Areca Smit, MBA
mother holding baby

PHI’s California Coalition for Black Birth Justice brings together birth equity and reproductive justice experts from various California regions and the nation to drive coordinated, collaborative efforts that accelerate birth justice for Black families statewide.

While California has seen increased commitment, investment, and vigor to reduce Black maternal inequities, there is little coordination or monitoring of statewide progress. California lacks a unified vision to make birth equity a reality statewide. The coalition created the California Black Birth Justice Agenda to address strategies for systemic change in the healthcare and public health domains to build longer-term, upstream, sustainable solutions. This agenda is a tool and a call to action for everyone—including our policymakers, health systems, health insurance plans, community-based organizations, professional associations, and more.

download the agenda


Use the following questions to guide you as you read this Agenda:

  • Considering your role in the system, what actions can you take to support a recommended action?
  • Who else could you share this Agenda with?
  • How might you encourage others to commit to a recommended action?

See the Agenda Overview, below:

Institutional Accountability and Data Accessibility

  • Use community-defined measures to monitor progress in reducing Black maternal and infant health disparities
  • Produce a publicly accessible Black birth equity monitoring and evaluation system
  • Incentivize provider actions to advance Black birth equity through innovative Medi-Cal payment models

Black Birth Justice Workforce Development & Sustainability

  • Strengthen recruitment and retention of Black clinical and non-clinical workforce: Offer financial support to Black maternal health trainees and clinicians; Develop additional training and support programs; Invest in the next generation of the Black birth justice workforce
  • Establish sustainable mechanisms to support the joy and wellbeing of the Black birth justice workforce

Expand Access to Community-Based Care

  • Expand coverage for community-based care to increase access to holistic support
  • Invest in Black-led birth centers, organizations and birthworkers

Creating the California Black Birth Justice Agenda

The Agenda development was spearheaded by seven members of the Coalition backbone team and 12 strategic advisors with national and local expertise in clinical medicine, public health research, policy advocacy, and community organizing.

Over 12 months, the Coalition backbone team and strategic advisors identified, refined, and prioritized a set of strategic actions to be incorporated in the Agenda. Additionally, a statewide survey was disseminated in order to vet the agenda’s identified actions.

Of the approximately 250 respondents, 70% identified as Black/ African American. 80% of survey respondents strongly agreed that the actions listed in the agenda would advance Black birth justice in California. 

Dana Sherrod headshot
There is a community of Black folks across California and the nation who are thinking about you, advocating for you, and who love you deeply. We are committing our life’s work to ensuring you and your family thrive! Dana Sherrod

Executive Director, California Coalition for Black Birth Justice



Watch: California Black Birth Justice Agenda 2023 Launch

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