Health commissioner: Black women 8 times more likely to die during pregnancy

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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN -

Health officials held a forum Friday to address the maternal mortality rate, which they say is more likely to affect women of color.

New York City Health Commissioners Dr. Oxiris Barbot says black women are eight times more likely to die due to pregnancy complications than white women.

The alarming statistic specifically affects neighborhoods like East New York and Brownsville, both which have similar socio-economic factors.

"You're having high issues of unemployment, high issues of homelessness, high issues of mental health issues, lack of access to healthy food," says Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Organizations and city officials have sought ways to change things.

"How do we make sure that all women are equally accessing the care that is going to make a difference to them, not only when they are pregnant, but before and of course after as well?" says Dr. Susan Beane, of HealthFirst.

The Department of Health plans to evaluate data and monitor its hospitals' respectful care practices. But all involved believe continuing this discussion is most important.

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