The urgency of improving maternal health outcomes in Alabama

I am honored to join the Alabama Arise team to help address one of the most pressing issues facing our state: maternal health. My name is Victoria, and I am Arise’s new maternal health fellow. I come to Arise with a deep passion for improving maternal health outcomes for all individuals in our state.

About me

My professional journey spans several industries, including higher education, corporate wellness, disease intervention and event management. These experiences provided me with a unique and diverse perspective in all my pursuits. With a bachelor’s degree in health care management and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), I have dedicated my academic and professional endeavors to understanding the complexities and nuances of health.

Victoria Enyinda Petty, Alabama Arise’s maternal health fellow

I am a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Community Health Promotion program at UAB, where my research focuses on maternal health disparities and interventions to improve health outcomes for mothers. Throughout my professional and academic career, I have been consistently driven by a desire to make a meaningful impact on the population’s health and well-being, particularly in the realm of maternal health.

Why I do this work

I believe every Alabamian deserves access to high-quality maternal health care, regardless of their race, income or ZIP code. Pregnancy and childbirth should be moments of joy and celebration. But for far too many individuals in Alabama, they are shadowed with challenges, barriers and tragedy.

Maternal health in Alabama

Alabama has some of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country, particularly among Black residents. Many counties in Alabama also are considered “maternity care deserts.” This means pregnant individuals there lack access to essential obstetric services close to home. Additionally, the shortage of obstetricians and other maternal health care providers in rural areas further compounds maternal health challenges.

Without adequate access to prenatal care and skilled providers, pregnant individuals are at higher risk of experiencing complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This lack of access not only exacerbates existing health disparities, but it also puts lives at risk.

These are just a few examples of why our work in maternal health advocacy is so crucial. By advocating for policies that expand access to prenatal care, address racial disparities in maternal health outcomes and invest in maternal health care infrastructure, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of countless individuals and families across Alabama.

This year, I look forward to working with our community partners as we strive to create a future where individuals in Alabama have the opportunity to thrive during pregnancy and beyond.