Black Maternal Health and Black Infant Mortality 2022 and Beyond

by Lawrence Jones II, PhD

Earlier this month, Vice President Kamala Harris urged the white house to make Black maternal health a national priority. Jane (April 17, 2022) reports that last December 2021, Harris hosted the first Maternal Health Day of Action, and she issued a call for change around maternal health, especially for Black families. Although this is monumental, why the special attention to Black families? There has been an increased article reported on Black Maternal health due to the increased likelihood of fatal health outcomes associated with pregnancy. The American Heart Association (February 13, 2019) addresses the pregnancy-related mortality rate of Black Women (regardless of socioeconomic income) and Black Infant Mortality.

Jones (April 23, 2022) “Although we live in a very affluent society, there are still discrepancies in our health care system. Even within the African American communities defined as middle class or upper-middle-class, there are still inadequacies, particularly in the black indigenous and people of color communities in the United States.” Jones also mentions, “patients have to be transparent about their ailments and the side effects of any prescribed medication. Often there are social biases that stem from systemic racial discrimination.”

Lockhart (January 11, 2018) points out that even famous and wealthy tennis star Serena Williams had post-pregnancy life-threatening problems “she frequently coughed due to the embolisms, and the coughs were forceful enough to cause her C-section wound to rupture. When she went in for surgery, doctors found that a hematoma had filled her abdomen due to the blood thinners. A filter was placed into one of her major veins to keep more blood clots from traveling to her lungs. When she finally returned home, Williams needed six weeks of bed rest.”

Black maternal health care begins well before pregnancy. It is vital for health care providers, physicians, and nurses to be extra knowledgeable about and sensitive culturally about the problems in Black maternal health. Genai (April 16, 2022) points out that “Black women are 2-3 times more likely to have fibroids, develop them at younger ages, have bigger fibroids, and have more fibroids, and to have more symptoms by age 35 nearly 50%.”


American Heart Association News (February 13, 2019). Health disparities – even in the face of socioeconomic success – baffle experts. Health disparities – even in the face of socioeconomic success – baffle experts | American Heart Association

Bushak, L. (April 14, 2022). ‘We Love You to Health’ pushes for equitable maternal care for Black women. ‘We Love You to Health’ pushes for equitable maternal care for Black women | Campaign US (

Genai, S. (April 16, 2022). Black Women Talk Fibroids, Fertility, and Motherhood. Black Women Talk Fibroids, Fertility, and Motherhood (

Jane, A. (April 17, 2022). VP Harris Urges White House to Make Black Maternal Health A National Priority. VP Harris Urges White House to Make Black Maternal Health A National Priority (

Jones, L. (April 23, 2022). The State of Black Health; The Narrative Matters med watch. The State of Black Health; The Narrative Matters med watch - The Narrative Matters

Lockhart, P.R. (January 11, 2018). What Serena Williams’s scary childbirth story says about medical treatment of black women. Vox. Serena Williams’s health scare shows how medicine dismisses black women - Vox

Ndugga,N. (April 15, 2022). A Look at Key Maternal and Infant Health Disparities Among Black People. A Look at Key Maternal and Infant Health Disparities Among Black People | KFF

Vantage Point (April 13, 2021). Black women more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.Black women more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes - VAntage Point

Smith, I. Z., Bentley-Edwards, K. L., El-Amin, S., & Darity Jr, W. (2018). Fighting at birth: eradicating the black-White infant mortality gap. Oakland: Duke University.

What is the Metaverse and How the Perception Matters?

by Lawrence Jones, PhD

I had the opportunity to virtually attend the third annual Digital Transformation Summit in Laurel,Maryland. The conference touched on 5G, Digital Twins, Cool emerging tech companies, customer experience through inclusive design, and the metaverse. However, the metaverse was a topic that I wanted to know most about. The "metaverse" is a current buzzword gaining more the mainstream dialogue. In many ways, the discussion is very similar to the expansion of the internet in the mid to late 1990s. Marr (April 4, 2022) "we already have virtual reality games Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, and Doom that are part of the metaverse."

But first, it is good to be familiarized with terms such as augmented reality and virtual reality. These two digital components are essential to the metaverse. Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the actual physical world that is achieved by using sound and other digital visual elements. AR is a growing trend among digital tech companies involved in mobile computing. Virtual Reality (VR) is an environment that is artificially generated through a computer that appears to be authentic. This is currently achieved by using a VR headset. In another term, blockchain will be another component necessary for the expansion and use of the metaverse by companies and consumers. Investopedia.(2022), "the innovation with a blockchain guarantees the fidelity and security of a record of data and generates trust without the need for a trusted third party."

Getting back to what was shared at the Digital Transformation Summit (2022) Metaverse discussion, it was very insightful as a newcomer to the debate.The metaverse discussion was moderated by Todd Marks, Chief Executive Officer, Mindgrub. The panel consisted of Jesse Alton, Co-Chair, Open Metaverse Interoperability Group (OMI); Will Gee, Chief Executive Officer, BaltiVirtual; Rob Koch, Associate Director of Mobile Engineering, Mindgrub and Rick Williams, Game Development Consultant, Hey ZRO. Rick Williams "I'm a game development consultant, and I've helped with metaverse projects my definition of the metaverse is it's the next evolution of the Internet it's what we will naturally go to there's not going to be a release date the everything is going to steadily evolve and it will turn into a state of seamlessness between the physical and digital world." Jesse Alton, one of the panelists, states that "I define the metaverse as the digital counterpart of the universe so yes it includes the Internet, yes it includes Virtual reality and Augmented Reality and gaming all of it including spatial audio."

In other literature lately, from a health perspective, Marr (April 4, 2022) mentions" the metaverse will provide new and innovative ways to look after our virtual healthcare." He further adds, "virtual reality counseling is already available, and therapists are using virtual reality goggles to provide exposure therapy to patients. Surgeons are also using augmented reality technology to guide certain surgical procedures – and they can train for operations using digital twins." EuroMoney.(2022). "whether you use blockchain or not when you see yourself as part of the metaverse, I think that's the best path forward is actually seeing it manifest. We're starting to realize there's a metaverse" Games like Minecraft is a metaverse or part of the metaverse. Restaurants are already taking advantage of making their presence in the metaverse games. Castrodale, J. (February 11, 2022) the stories about McDonald's recently so McDonald's now has a virtual McDonald's you could go to and depending on where you are in the nation and what your integrations are whether you integrated with Grubhub or DoorDash. You can order and there's an interaction there you order your food and then it physically shows up in the real world using door dash or Grubhub but it's a really nice interface we've probably heard about McDonald's; now they have a virtual McDonald's, and you can take a break.

References:Castrodale, J. (February 11, 2022). Get Ready to Order Your Big Mac from a Virtual McDonald's in the Metaverse. Food and Wine. McDonald's Plans to Open Virtual Restaurants in the Metaverse | Food & Wine (

EuroMoney.(2022). What is blockchain? Blockchain Explained: What is blockchain? | Euromoney Learning

Investopedia.(2022). Blockchain Definition: What You Need to Know (


Fantonzzi, J. (February 25, 2022). Why every restaurant operator should care about NFTs and the metaverse right now. Every restaurant operator should care about NFTs and the metaverse (

Marr, B. (April 4, 2022).The Effects Of The Metaverse On Society. The Effects Of The Metaverse On Society (

Maryland Tech Council Third Annual Digital Transformation Summit 2022.

Ratam, R. and Meshi, D. (January 14, 2022). The metaverse is money and crypto is king – why you’ll be on a blockchain when you’re virtual-world hopping. The metaverse is money and crypto is king – why you'll be on a blockchain when you're virtual-world hopping (

Wells, J. ( January 25, 2022).Metaverse: The End of Travel as We Know It. Metaverse: The End of Travel as We Know It (

Wong, Q. (March 23, 2022). Shopping in the Metaverse Could Be More Fun Than You Think. Shopping in the Metaverse Could Be More Fun Than You Think - CNET.

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