Type: Public event
Host: Ford School

Maternal health equity: The racial justice imperative


Leseliey Welch, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed

Date & time

Oct 27, 2022, 12:00-1:00 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

Join Ford School Towsley Policymaker in Residence Dr. Abdul El-Sayed - physician, epidemiologist, and former Detroit Health Director - for a conversation on reproductive justice and birth justice with Co-founder of Birth Detroit and Birth Center Equity, and former Deputy Director of the Detroit Health Department, Leseliey Welch.

From the speaker

Increasingly, media coverage frames Black maternal health as a “crisis.” While attention to Black maternal health is overdue, the current narrative does not offer a structural analysis of the root of the problem nor does it affirm Black power. The dominant narrative creates fear in Black birthing people and problematizes Black birthing bodies explicitly or inadvertently. Birth Detroit leans in on another narrative—reasserting the agency and power of Black birthing people when we are centered in our own care. In this practice, we do not ignore that we are in a crisis of maternal health that bears down inequitably on Black people.  We step into our power as leaders in our own care.

From the speaker's bio

Leseliey Welch is a public health leader with a business mind and a visionary heart, holding love as a guiding value, a way of being, an action and a politic. She is Co-founder of Birth Detroit and Birth Center Equity, a mom and a tireless advocate for work that makes communities stronger, healthier and more free. Leseliey leads a team of birth workers, birth advocates and community leaders planning Detroit’s first freestanding community birth center Birth Detroit, and is proud of the launch of Birth Center Equity to grow and sustain birth centers led by Black, Indigenous and people of color across the country. She has nearly two decades of leadership experience in city, state and national health organizations. She served as interim executive director of Birthing Project USA, Deputy Director of Public Health for the City of Detroit, and consulted in the development of Michigan’s first comprehensive LGBTQ health center. Leseliey has taught at the university level for over fifteen years, contributing to the development of Wayne State University’s Bachelor’s in Public Health Program and creating courses on numerous health equity topics for undergraduate and master’s level public health students, medical students and medical residents. Leseliey currently lectures in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies, Masters in Public Health with a certificate in Women’s and Reproductive Health, and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.