Maternal/Child Health

The risk of maternal and child mortality and pregnancy-related complications can be reduced by increasing access to quality care before, during, and after pregnancy. Pregnancy can provide an opportunity to identify existing health risks in women and to prevent future health problems for women and their children, such as diabetes, depression, substance use, and weight gain. Visit OMH’s Black/African American Population Profile to learn more about the disparities affecting the community. Use this page to learn more about famous Black men and women who helped advance the field and for resources on addressing maternal/child health.

Contributions from Black Doctors & Scholars

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner Exit Disclaimer (1912-2006) created the sanitary belt, a precursor to the sanitary pad, and holds more patents than any other Black woman.


Rebecca Lee Crumpler, M.D. (1831-1895) was a midwife and OBGYN who became the first Black woman to earn a medical degree in 1864.

Suggested Reading


Helen Dickens, M.D. (1909-2001) was a prominent OBGYN and the first Black woman admitted to the American College of Surgeons.

Suggested Reading



Federal Resources