Transcript: Understanding how trauma impacts maternal health outcomes for Black mothers

Relaxed music plays. A cluster of buildings stands beside a forest on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. Text appears.


ONSCREEN TEXT:     Atlanta, GA

A sign attached to the side of a building reads, “Emory Rollins School of Public Health.” A Black woman with long dark hair interviews.


ONSCREEN TEXT:     Dr. Briana Woods-Jaeger

                                    Associate Professor, Emory University


DR WOODS-JAEGER: I just saw the big mental health disparities in the community, particularly for communities of color, where there were high rates of trauma exposure, but there weren't a lot of resources or available treatments.

Dr Woods-Jaeger strolls through the halls of Rollins. Cars wend past the front entrance of a hospital. Letters on the building read “Grady” beside a medical cross.

DR WOODS-JAEGER: Our study was focused on Black pregnant women here in Metro Atlanta who were seeking services at Grady Hospital. We had over 600 women that participated in our study. 98% actually had trauma exposures. Only 6% had actually accessed PTSD treatment-- post-traumatic stress disorder.

The view gazes at the outside of the building. Text appears.


ONSCREEN TEXT:     A $75,000 UnitedHealthcare

                                    grant to Emory University

                                    aims to help improve health

                                    outcomes for Black mothers

                                    and their babies.

More text appears as the view glides down to the sign on the side of the building.


ONSCREEN TEXT:     The grant supports

                                    culturally responsive

                                    outreach and intervention

                                    for trauma-exposed mothers

                                    with mental health needs.

Dr Woods-Jaeger interviews.

DR WOODS-JAEGER: That seed for us to build those relationships, to learn what is gonna be relevant and helpful, so that we can then scale something that actually has a chance of working and isn't something that's just my idea.

A photo shows a Black mother, Alesha, with her young son and infant daughter. Alesha interviews.


ONSCREEN TEXT:     Alesha Bell


ALESHA: Having a son that is autistic and then a new baby… what life is gonna be right now and from now on. Baby blues, post-partum depression, and it seemed like what they were studying was exactly what I was going through.

The view hovers over a building on the Emory campus. A sign outside the building reads “Sheltering Arms. The standard for early childhood education.” Alesha and Dr Woods-Jaeger meet around a table with a group of women.


ALESHA: We always have a meeting quarterly in a team, how we are doing, just physically and mentally.


Dr Woods-Jaeger interviews.


DR WOODS-JAEGER: Wanting to hear directly from Black pregnant women, like, what is their experience? What can we be doing differently? What priorities should we focus on?

Alesha addresses the others.


ALESHA: A community support coach.

Dr Woods-Jaeger speaks in voiceover.


DR WOODS-JAEGER: Amazing family support coaches we're working with, but also the Black pregnant women who participate in our focus groups that we've been doing throughout this process.

Alesha addresses the group.


ALESHA: Mothers and fathers, how they can support each other.

Dr Woods-Jaeger speaks in voiceover.


DR WOODS-JAEGER: Many of them are now parent consultants, working with us to really shape the treatment we're offering at Grady, as well as the efforts we're doing in the community.

Alesha interviews.


ALESHA: I became the resource. Give back in a way where I can extend my hands and tell them, like, “Hey, I'm here for you as well.” Love talking to new moms. Always just let them know, like, “Hey, I'm here for you. Just call me. Here's my phone number.”

A Black woman with short hair, Vanay, interviews.

ONSCREEN TEXT:     Vanay Butler

                                    Family Support Coach, Sheltering Arms

VANAY: African American mothers-- sometimes we feel like we have to wear a cape all the time, we're Superwoman all the time, and it's not okay to ask for help, and it's not okay to not be okay.

Dr Woods-Jaeger speaks in voiceover as the women around the table chat with each other, nodding as they listen.


DR WOODS-JAEGER: This has really been such an important year for us to learn, not only from family support coaches, Black pregnant women themselves, also the providers that we work with. Like, how can we all be working together? And with UnitedHealthcare really supporting, being community-focused and making sure that we're inclusive, making sure we're building those partnerships. We have a safe space for our voice to be heard. That's what inspires us to keep going.

The women beam at each other and laugh. Dr Woods-Jaeger flashes a bright smile. The stacked blue U’s of the UnitedHealthcare logo appear against a white background, followed by text.