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Black Mothers & Childbirth Conference.

A Reproductive Sankofa

The Wellcome Collection,
183 Euston Road,
London NW1 2BE
23 September 2019

The Conference

The Wellcome Collection, NW1 2BE
23 September 2019
09:30 am

This is the first conference on ‘action to reduce the disparate deaths and damage to Black mothers and babies in England.' It will be held at The Wellcome Collection, Euston on the 23 September from 9:30 - 4:00.


Entitled “A Reproductive Sankofa” it features Professor Dorothy Roberts (author of Killing the Black Body) and Midwife Jennie Joseph (creator of The JJ Way).  Its purpose is:


• To raise awareness of social, economic, political and environmental factors that influence maternal and perinatal mortality in black women in the UK.


• To exchange knowledge regarding midwifery practice from projects which have achieved reduction in maternal and perinatal mortality; in particular the most vulnerable groups.


• To examine how midwifery practice can be improved 


• To enable the voices and experiences of black women service users to be heard.


• To begin the work of realising and embedding the factors which will cause a step change in maternity outcomes for black mothers and babies.

The Conference


Proud to bring inspirational speakers from across the globe

Dorothy Roberts, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law, is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, and also a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School where she holds the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander chair.


Her pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health, social justice, and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans. 


Her major books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997).

She serves on the board of directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard Program on Ethics & the Professions, and Stanford Center for the Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity.

Recent recognitions of her work include 2017 election to the National Academy of Medicine, the Society of Family Planning 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award and American Psychiatric Association 2015 Solomon Carter Fuller Award.

Jennie Joseph is a well respected health advocate for women and newborn babies. A British-trained midwife, Jennie has become one of the world’s most respected midwives and authorities on women’s health: healthy pregnancies, healthy deliveries and healthy babies. 


She’s become a true advocate for systematic reform that puts women and babies first in healthcare; before profit, convenience and the numerous reasons America trails other developed nations in healthy births. Jennie’s common sense approach has won her the attention of global news media and brought her invitations to speak all over the world.


Jennie is the founder and executive director of Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and the creator of The JJ Way®, a common sense approach designed for women and children. She moved to the United States in 1989 and began a journey that has culminated in the formation of an innovative maternal child healthcare system, markedly improving birth outcomes for thousands of women and children.


Jennie has worked extensively in European hospitals, American birth centers, clinics and homebirth environments. She has been instrumental in the regulation of Florida midwives since the 1990’s and has been involved in midwifery education since 1995. She is the former chair of Florida’s State Council of Licensed Midwives. Currently she owns a Florida licensed midwifery school in conjunction with The Birth Place, her world renowned birth center and maternity medical home in Winter Garden, Florida.

The Programme




About Midwifery Conversations

What is Midwifery Conversations?

Created by Elsie Gayle, the independent midwife and honorary degree holder from the University of Wolverhampton featured on BBC's Women's Hour, Midwifery Conversations is a platform for engaging midwives, aspiring midwives, women and their families is exploring all aspects of childbearing and nurturing mothers and babies. We aim to examine the evidence, reflect on all perspectives and seek to support woman centred care for best outcomes.


Midwifery Conversations also runs a community of practice and hold quarterly evening meetings with colleagues in health to undertake learning and reflections on practice.  




Due to high demand, this conference will be Live Streamed.

All registered participants will be emailed the link to the live stream in advance of the event.

To attend this conference via Live Stream, please register using the link below.


IOLANTHE MIDWIFERY TRUST:  Groundbreaking conference on action to reduce mortality in Black women and babies
BBC RADIO 4 WOMEN'S HOUR:  Black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. Why?
AFRIKA SPEAKS WITH ALKEBU-LAN:  Can we be liberated if Black maternal mortality rates are so high?
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