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OneRouge Community Check-In: Week 192

Updated: Feb 9

It is not hyperbole to assert that being Black and/or poor should not be a death sentence. In the year of Tracy Chapman's Grammy, Black women continue to experience incredible disparities in healthcare that lead to their deaths exponentially more than any other woman.Even though we can only see patterns and trends in hindsight, we can be sure that the Black maternal-child mortality rates are consistently horrible in Louisiana! According to some studies, we are the worst in the US. There have been initiatives even grant funding to address.But why tho? Is throwing money at it enough? Is our focus on the right places?We can't wait until Black Maternal Health Week April11-17 to talk about it. So join us on Friday and hear from our featured speakers who have been integrally involved in Black wellness, improving health outcomes, and the tragically ongoing discussion of "MCM: Maternal Child Mortality"



Casey Phillips: Good morning. Good morning, Pepper. And good morning, One Rouge Friday. What's happening, y'all?  Pepper, it felt like you had a lot to say today and you wanted to wish everyone a happy Carnival to start the day, clearly, right? That's the number one thing to do.  Rodneyna, it has been amazing before I gave Pepper space to say what he was going to say. I want to say hi to Rodneyna. And it is thank you for joining us today. And Dr. Bell looks like we are officially re coordinated, my friend. It happened. It's a magical Friday today. You're usually the one with the collared shirt, but I was just following your lead. Truly, as I said, I'm going to, I'm going to step back and so Pepper can lean in, but I do want to wish everyone first and foremost, a lot of people do indulge in carnival season, and I want to wish all of you a very safe and festive holiday. And relatively out of control and blow some steam off weekend. Hope that you all have a wonderful time because I'm going to have to be off camera for most of the call. And thank you all for being here and sharing the space. Pepper, take it away.  

Pepper Roussel: Good morning. One Rouge, you know how much I love y'all spending part of your Friday mornings with me and. I'm almost coordinating with Rodneyna, very close with the color scheme at the very least, we'll get there. I will have a twinsie eventually, it's gonna happen.  Otherwise, today, we are continuing  our celebration of Black History Month. The official Black History Month. The rest of us, we are celebrating every day, and please be sure to leave your milk and cookies out for the great Harriet Tubman on her way to the Underground Railroad, just as you would leave out milk and cookies for Santa, because She's real. Anywho, what we are talking about today, my friends, is a conversation that is one I don't think we should be having in the , in Fannie Lou Hamer's America in the year of Tracy Chapman's Grammy. We are talking about infant child mortality and what does it mean for those of us who are working in spaces where we are assisting helping serving those who are in poverty. So we are going to start off with our guest. Nancy Davis, please let us know who you are, what you do, and what it is that we, how it is we need to be involved. Your five minutes starts now. 

Nancy Davis: Hello, everyone. It is truly an honor to be here with you all once a day. My name is Nancy Davis. I am a very passionate advocate for reproductive justice, reproductive rights. I am also the founder And executive director of the Nancy Davies Foundation our mission revolves around advocating for reproductive justice, maternal health, breaking barriers while promoting equitable access and supporting individuals who are facing issues and receiving healthcare for non viable fetuses. My journey into advocacy stems from a deeply personal experience related to reproductive health challenges. Right after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I found myself in a situation that required an abortion or a medical pregnancy termination. The fetus I was carrying was actually diagnosed without a skull. So the doctor told us, these babies just don't survive. And if he or she made it through birth, they would die within minutes. Initially, the doctor did agree to perform the procedure for $6,000. Now, I don't know what type of  abortions cost $6,000, but that was like something that was very alarming. But later. I ran into an unexpected roadblock. I was denied an abortion, even though Louisiana has exceptions in place, and it should have been covered under those list of exceptions, but I still was denied. At this very point, I felt like they were making me carry my baby, to bury my baby. And this only intensified the trauma, the agony, and the pain. They advised us on the nearest place to receive abortion care. And they wished us well. So this denial ultimately forced us to travel nearly 1500 miles away to access the care that should have been readily available to me, right? This whole ordeal was not just a personal struggle, but an example of the systemic issues and limitations surrounding reproductive health care, particularly in regions like Louisiana that have restrictive policies. After being denied care, that highlighted the critical need for resources, reform in reproductive health care and maternal rights, especially In regions like Louisiana, as I just mentioned it also highlighted the lack of knowledge and the lack of advocacy. And it put individuals, especially women, more on the forefront  in, in, in accessing fundamental and time sensitive medical services. This experience was actually a turning point that propelled me into advocacy, determined to ensure that others wouldn't have to endure the same barriers and hardships that I actually went through. So the Nancy Davis Foundation, we vision a future where every mother, regardless of race, can navigate pregnancy and childbirth with dignity, receiving the equitable and high quality care she deserves.  She deserves. I'm sorry. We provide resources such as mentoring, education and assistance for medical pregnancy terminations. Experiencing these challenges. and injustice firsthand has actually fueled a sense of responsibility and obligation to use my voice as a catalyst for change. Together, I feel like we can rewrite the narrative of maternal child mortality, ensuring that Black women, as well as all women, receive the respect, the support, and the health care they need to thrive. 

Pepper: So first and foremost, I am not accustomed to people actually finishing early second, but not nearly as important. Please talk to me. I've got a couple of questions before we shift and start asking. More questions. The article or was it an interview? I can't remember which it was, but carry to bury? Help me understand. What I'm not even going to ask about the emotional trauma and how it is that you, how you connected psychologically to this, but what was the rationale that they gave you to having to carry an unviable without a skull? That  would  help me understand. What did they tell you was the point of this and then we can get to why 6, 000 because that seems like a rather specific number. Please carry on.  

Nancy: Okay whenever we were denied they told me that we were denied due to the fetus still having a heartbeat and due to Louisiana abortion bans that were in place. That was the only rationale they had given us. And clearly and I always say this clearly they were confused. They were scared of prosecution. They were scared of losing their license. So that's why we were denied. 

Pepper: All right. I am going to accept that at face value Because I'm looking at these women who are shaking their heads and all of us are, I'm sure, having the same internal dialogue of probably things that should not be said out loud, but that's not the point. 

Nancy: Yes but no, like I totally feel y'all that was the look, like whenever they told me that, I just could not believe it, it was so confusing. It was so hard for me to wrap my brain around, after all of this, that's.  That we were told and they know everything as well. I really felt  they threw us to the wolves literally. And that was one of the main reasons I actually went forward. So the new stations to actually spread light on these issues. Cause I knew if I was going through it, other women was going through it as well.  

Pepper: Absolutely absurd. We will circle back to that and in just a minute or five, actually what we're going to do next is to zoom out and get a little bit of a more broad scope of thank you, Morgan. Sometimes cruelty is the point. Fair enough. A more broad perspective. Nicole Scott, I just saw you. Where did you go? Oh, there's your picture. Are you in a place you can come off mute? I can now.  Maybe I also struggle with the mute button, so don't worry about it. In a minute. Hold on to my camera. Can you? We are going to give you five minutes to let us know who you are, what you do and how we should be involved. Your five minutes starts now.

Nicole Scott:  All right. Okay. My name is Nicole Scott. Most people in the community call me Nikki. I am a registered nurse. I've been a nurse for 14 years.  Mainly working in the mid city area. In Baton Rouge. Two businesses. So one of them is yoga Noire project. Where we teach yoga. I have a trauma informed yoga background. So I'm working with teens and things community as well. And then One Breath Project is a community based project that was meant originally to bring other organizations to work on a common goal. And it just so happened that it wound up being the baby shower. And so that's how we wound up in this maternal health area. So basically what happened was in 2019, we had our very first community baby shower. Everything fell together just perfectly. It was like, wow, this is crazy. We didn't pay for anything.

The community's 100 percent pitched in. We made this beautiful event happen for 20 women. Who got brand new everything, strollers car seats, all the things that they needed for their baby to go home.  And then as you all know like in two seconds right after that COVID happened. And we found another need but people weren't able to go to work, they weren't able to afford certain items that were essential like diapers and things like that. And so we actually just continued the The distribution from the original baby shower. And that's how the distribution came about. So we distribute diapers twice a month and every other Saturday basically to any mom that signs up, they come. We don't have any criteria. We don't make them jump through any hoops or anything like that. For one I remember having to experience this myself, and I know how hard it is to get to first of all, ask for help, and then to be able to actually get the things that you need and I didn't want to have any barriers to that, and what we've grown out of that in these last four years is that  We find that we have moms that actually come back and volunteer and we have moms that donate their things back to us so that we can give them to other moms. And, we have some situations where we really can hone in and say, okay, this one needs a lot more resources. This is a job placement kind of situation. This is a Housing situation. This is an abuse situation. This is a foster care situation. How can we assist? Who, where are our other resources in the community that can assist this mother to be or father or foster parent, whomever, grandparent, to be able to raise this child the best they can. And so  We're back into where we were when we started with one breath is how do we pull all these organizations together to be able to best help this person in the community? How can we wrap around this person and give them what they need? That's basically in a nutshell what we do, how you can help. We do have a link. For volunteering. We basically we put that up as well. So any day that we have a distro, we have a meeting. I'm sorry a need for volunteers to help distribute items. We get a lot of donations. I always said if I stopped getting donations that I would stop doing this and I just never ran out of things. So we just keep going. So I always need somebody to come along and help separate formula, make sure that the dates on the formula are not, bad, that we don't have to take them out to the community fridge if they're within a month, we take them to the community fridge and drop them off for people to get them a little faster. To go through all the diaper sizes, make sure they have what we need. Things like that go through the donations and make sure things that we can use. We also opened our boutique. So we have, oh, thank you, Tia. We opened our boutique this year. And so basically, it's you just come in and get what you want out of there and take it away, which is, the best thing  for us to be able to just give it away. Yep, that's it for us.  

Pepper: That is outstanding. I love that y'all don't ask any questions and don't need a note from the third grade teacher to validate the need, right? Because it's dehumanizing. It also, frankly treats them like children. So anyways before I go off on the rest of my tangent, because I have my soapbox out and at the ready, I do want to hear from oh, sorry, that was my timer. Where'd Taryn Branson go? Taryn Branson, you are off camera, but I, Would like to hear if y'all if you can come on and share with us a little bit about what it is that y'all are doing at the Office of Women's Health and Community Health, mainly because as we talk about what it looks like for the  Women, particularly black women in the south, Louisiana in particular, to get the help and the service and the care that is needed. Sometimes we may not know where there are options. And so thank you, Nikki, for letting us know how it is that your program is serving.  What is the state doing to help us? What you got to Taryn?

Taryn C. Branson: So good morning, everyone. Thank you all so much for just letting us happy in for a quick second here. So currently with the Office of Women's Health, we are working to really start serving as a coordinating center for all things women's health across the several departments within Department of Health. We just recently and Dr. Shavers whenever she comes in, she can touch more on this also working to coordinate and get started what we've called a community advisory board which is we've selected I believe it's 20 people across the nine regions within the department of health to serve as. Not only just a voice, but help to get the work done that we want to do within the Office of Women's Health including making sure that we are educating people about not just resources that are available but how to better assist them within their communities as a whole and first, let me also introduce myself. I am Taryn Branson. I'm the Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Office of Women's Health. Dr. Tory Harris serves as the assistant secretary of the office and I'll let Dr. Shavers and Amy Hurdle hop in quickly to introduce themselves.

Dr. Ra’Quel Shavers: Hi, I'm Ra’Quel Shavers, and I am the Community Engagement Manager for the Office of Women's Health. I've been in my role for almost a year, actually 10 months, so it's been a great ride. We've had quite a bit of work to do starting this new department because literally we've had to put everything together. So we are our foundation and we're moving pretty quickly. When I came on board, we had just done Dr Harris had actually done two of the town halls where we were traveling throughout the nine regional parishes within Louisiana. And when I came on board as well as the other staff, we continued that work with the town halls, which was very informative. We were Gathering data on each area to find out what their issues and or concerns were concerning women's health. And we ended up finding out that  there were very similar Issues within each of the regions. But, a lot of people had issues with community safety. This is how the four areas ended up evolving. We touched on maternal health, community safety, social determinants and what's the fourth one? Let me see. Community health, social determinants, Mental health. Maternal health. 

Pepper: Oh, Dr. Shavers, you didn't fail the pop quiz.  

Dr. Shavers: Hi, I did. I'm sorry. It's 8: 30 in the morning. Yeah, but it was very enlightening. Doing these town halls were very enlightening for me because I had no idea that food insecurity was a big issue in Louisiana. Each region had their own issues, but there were a lot of common themes within each regional parish. But as a result of doing these town halls, it created great dialogue with the constituents and the community stakeholders there. And as a result of that some coalitions are being built. For example, in Lafayette, they started a food coalition and we were able to actually attend that event. It was very powerful. You know how they just piggybacked off of the town halls that we did. And so that's what we're looking to do. It's not, the purpose wasn't just to go out and collect the information. But once we've identified what's going on in your particular community, we really wanted to push that particular community to start doing advocacy work in their area, partnering with faith based institutions nonprofit, civic organizations, hospitals, whatever their community resources are in that area to start addressing some of these issues. So that's what we're in the process of doing now. And That's why we really started the Community Advisory Board so they can partner with the Office of Women's Health and we can work in tandem together to start addressing these issues. That's been very good. We have a lot of work to do here in Louisiana, but we're excited to see that  women's health, maternal health, mental health, social determinants, all these things affect all of us. And we all have to work together in order to move this needle and In Louisiana, and these systemic barriers that that basically roadblock us from making progress, especially as it pertains to women of color. So that's, we have our work cut out for us but we're very optimistic as we continue to build partnerships. Again with the legislators with. Faith based institutions with community organizations with the community in general that you know we all are going to move forward to make some things happen some good things happen about Louisiana so we can come from the bottom to the top.

Pepper: Look at you moving on up. All right, Amy. Amy, you are next. If you I don't know whether you can weave it into polite conversation, but if you can let us know who you are, how you intersect and what the impact of this, of a new administration on the function and budget of this new department happens to be, we'd appreciate it. We'll go back to some more questions and and leave our other speakers back in.  

Amy Pirtle: Awesome. My name's Amy Pirtle. I'm a legislative and policy manager for the office lawyer by trade. I'm actually a retired lawyer. I don't actually practice. So the, just to answer Reverend Anderson's, the new administration it, oh, and the function and budget of this new department. It seems very positive. It looks like we're going to be funded for at least a while. Positive. But if you want to send us a Yelp review, that'd be great. Really talk to your legislators are the ones that deal with the budget. As for the community by advisory board members I can refer to Dr Shavers. But from our perspective, they've had some meetings that they talk about great ideas that they have that we can maybe implement on a state policy. And it's a boots on the ground strategy of being able to influence departmental policy.  Since we are such a new department L. D. H. Has functionally worked with some of these issues for a really long time that they've had to do it. So right now we're still trying to find our place, so we're doing a coordinating agency work. We're not giving the shots, but we're telling you where you can get the shots is effectively how I would say we're moving forward. Hope that answers your questions and I'm really excited to hear what you guys have to say. And Taryn Branson has been our new assistant secretary and she's also a deputy assistant secretary. I'm sorry, they have so many titles here. And she's been so great at spearheading us and like finding out these great organizations like y'all.  

Pepper: All right, kids. Like I said, I got my soapbox at the ready. So strap in a couple of years. So about a year and a half ago there was an article in Politico that I'm actually, I've got open now. This is not committed to memory, but we were talking, we were 47th out of 48 states and black maternal health. And part of and just I'm looking for  perspective part of the reason said Senator Cassidy at the time was that we are considering maternal mortality up to a year after the infant is born. So help me understand as your organizations, as your departments are looking at. Maternal child mortality, what should we be understanding? Should we be understanding that this is a non-viable fetus? Should we be understanding that this is either a mother or child who dies or who dies at the instant of birth? Or is it something that's a larger and more community or health based? Question like, lack of food, lack of housing, general poverty.  

Taryn: Yeah, that's an amazing question, and  basically what we found out, and Dr. Shavers, of course, can hop in and correct me on any of this. I've not even been in this position a full month yet, so she may have a little bit more background knowledge. But what we found, essentially, from as she was speaking earlier about the town halls that while there are some overlapping issues, what this really boils down to is a matter of essentially education across the board in terms of, enlightening women and also making sure that conversation is being had. In speaking to some physicians, what we've also, and of course, it's not necessarily anything that we've learned, but something that we're hoping to try to work and bridge the gap on is the the cultural piece essentially of women essentially speaking with their doctors and being heard and being understood and making sure that women are armed with knowledge and information whenever they're going to see their physicians And then from there, just making sure that they have the appropriate and necessary resources within their communities to assist them in whatever capacity that they need. And Pepper, to answer your question, this essentially boils down to an education piece, which is why we're working. Again, with the community advisory board that's been established so that we can continue to address issues from a regional perspective and not necessarily from, an entire statewide perspective, because if you've ever lived in North Louisiana versus South Louisiana, you absolutely know that it is two states in one. And so what, North Louisiana. Women may need, especially in rural areas is completely different from what women in South Louisiana may need, which has a little bit more resources than most rural areas.  

Pepper: So I am going to cut Reverend Anderson. I see your questions popping up. We're going to do a rapid fire with Taryn before the end of the day so that we get the questions in an answer. But I do want to comment. I don't know why anybody would want to live in Louisiana, we'll go on from there.  As we talk about education and resources, though, Nikki, some of the things that you are doing is sharing not only those resources, but also providing connections to. 

Taryn: I'm sorry, did you, me or Nikki? I didn't hear you.

Pepper:  Nikki, but she's struggling. Listen, I'm giving grace because like I said, I do, I genuinely do struggle to get off mute. It is a sin and a shame. 

Nikki: Okay, so yes, so what we typically have  open to the different organizations in the community is that you can come to our distro days and have a table or just be there in general to meet the  parents and that come so that you can offer these resources to them. We want to make sure that we're making those connections. We have a lot of parents that we see that are struggling that cannot make those different connections. They don't know where they are. They don't know that they're even available. That's super helpful when we can pull the resource to the parent, like right there in real time. What we struggle with though, is actually knowing also what the resources are and what's available. It really helps to have a coalition, Like this that, can help us to pull those different little pieces together for people.  

Pepper: Fantastic. So Nancy, I've got a two parter for you. One is about the work and the other is about your experience. So first and foremost, did you have access to your options? Was there any sort of education or was it just  We don't do that here. You need to go somewhere else. And then the second is a question that is going to be open for everybody after Nancy comes off mute is how are y'all holding systems accountable for addressing discriminatory practices as we see implicit bias and systemic racism contributing to negative birth outcomes for Black women. Where you at, Ms. Nancy? Then we will come back to that. Taryn, Dr. Shavers, Amy and Nikki, please let us know. What are y'all doing? Oh, there you are. 

Nancy: My little one woke up. 

Pepper: Oh, we understand.  

Nancy: Yeah, so what was the question? I'm sorry.  

Pepper: The question is about were you so staying with the theme of education and knowing of where resources are. Were you educated on or did they just presume that you knew what to do and where to get things from? Help me as your experience with having a non viable pregnancy. Did you were you given the resources that you would need in order to make not only an informed decision, but to receive the proper care? 

Nancy: No, I actually was not given the resources. I actually had to go home and do pretty much all of the research and find out a lot of the knowledge on that topic, so no, I wasn't given anything. I pretty much was left on my own to, find the information and do what I needed to do with it. 

Pepper: So that really does echo some of the things that we're hearing this morning is that we do need education for women and resources to let us, but is this just part of the question around implicit bias and systemic racism or is there something that we can be doing to hold. Our systems accountable by addressing practices and policies. That's open for all of y'all. 

Nancy: One of the things I can point out is policy advocacy, advocate for changes in existing policies. Or the creation of new policies that promote equality, diversity and anti discrimination resources, measures. 

Pepper: So for Nikki and Taryn, are y'all,  I have matches, we ride at dawn. Are y'all dismantling the system? What's happening?

Nikki: I really feel  better about meeting people where they are. And we'll have all of the resources or things that are available. But. And that's been one of the things that we've, even struggle with one breath is, as our location accessible during Covid when people couldn't get out, we were making deliveries to people we were making sure that we were, scheduling so that only one mom was coming at a time.So we weren't, infecting anybody. All of the things that we have to consider to make sure that people are safe, but also it's important and I don't know that when  necessarily the organizations are looking at all of the little pieces, they're just like the resources here, they should come get it. And that's not always the case. We can be better.  How we make sure that,  we're making sure that we're not setting up too many barriers. 

Taryn: And I would just have to piggyback off of what Nikki is saying that we absolutely have to do a better job of connecting people to resources, connecting people to education, connecting their legislators essentially while we, as a department can not essentially. Advocate, we certainly can educate people on essentially how to find resources how to contact their legislators and how to be their own self advocate, if you will, in terms of helping to improve not just their own health, but women's health and infant health in general. 

Pepper: Here's something that as I listened to the little one in the background. I wonder and I don't know whether any of you has an answer for it before we go back to some of the questions in the chat. Is there more or less information available for moms who are having their second child or do you get more information as time goes on? Or less? Or do you just not get any at all? 

Nikki: I'd say, as a mom of four children I feel like I got less information as I went on. A lot of assumptions that I knew what was going on. But yeah, like Tia says, if you don't ask, they you've had a kid before, so you already know, kind of mentality. Or even the thought that you shouldn't need anything because you already have a kid, so you should have used, use your whatever you had before for the next one and things like that, like not even taking into consideration that you might have given away or sold it because you needed the money or whatever the case is, right?  I think I found, I think I got less information as I had more children, personally, as a mom.  Oh, or yes, you have surprise multiples. Yes, Morgan.  Because we,  yes. 

Pepper: Because  Morgan had multiples and she knows those things. So for maternity services clients and their support persons, what are the best pathways to address instances of biased care?. So from a client perspective, right? So from a user of the system as a black woman, if you walk in we have always, we've heard stories of some of the more famous, like Serena Williams having to self advocate and saying that she was having issues and could have died had she not stumbled out of the bed into the hallway and ask for somebody to pay attention to her. What have y'all seen? What do y'all think? Yeah. Even if you don't have a program in place, what would be useful in order to address instances of bias care?  

Taryn: So from a, sure, so from a department standpoint and It's so ironic that this question has come about, but we really just had a conversation around this, I think maybe last week. And one of the things I will say that I absolutely love about working with Dr. Harris and her team I am the complete newbie on here is that there really is a large emphasis and focus on hearing the concerns from the community perspective and not just what. We at L.D. H. may see as an issue. And what I can say to that is we have heard this. We know that there is a system and cultural issue and we are getting ready to be in the works of trying to develop some sort of campaign around that to begin addressing this very serious issue because we recognize that at the end of the day,  Patients and doctors must be able to hear and understand one another and be able to essentially. Address the needs from a patient perspective and not just, women being brushed off as, being quote unquote overly excited if you will. And thank you for that question. And I will say stay tuned.

Pepper: Overly excited sounds like a condition you might have had back in the 50s. Right. Do any of y'all know what we are doing or do y'all have any  exposure to how it is that we are working with our more vulnerable populations? So think non English speakers, immigrant communities, incarcerated or justice adjacent. Impacted, just as impacted but families, what , yeah, but thank you, Reverend Anderson disabled communities or people, women talk to me do y'all know, and if you don't know, it's fine, because it just seems like that might be a place that we do need to extend our education and outreach. 

Taryn: Yes, it is a point to be able to extend outreach in that regard considering that, much of the work that we do it's just largely focused on, that big umbrella of women's health, but there are so many things that fall underneath that umbrella, for example incarcerated women or women with disabilities and things of that nature. And we want to make sure that we are working to highlight as best as we can the needs of that blanket statement of women's health in terms of making sure we get information to all. Party. So Reverend Anderson who I know and love dearly. Thank you for all these tough questions today. But you have my number. So call me because that is a point that we need to make sure that we highlight and focus on and make sure that we're not leaving out other segments of the population who absolutely need services and resources as well.

Pepper: Oh, don't think you're getting off. I tell him to call you.Cause I got a list. 

Taryn: Trust me. I know I'm not going anywhere. 

Pepper: Oh shoot. Darn poo. I lost my place. Any who how, okay no, we just talked about that. We're going to come back to that one a bit. And. As we are hearing about how it is, and this is not to discount viable pregnancy, but it is to say that there are, there's more than one way to be pregnant, right? So you can have a non viable pregnancy, you can have a pregnancy that you choose to terminate, one that your body terminates on its own. Are there any sort of nuance, or is there any  to how it is that we interact with the mothers? Who maybe who are having experiences that are not necessarily what we would expect. 

Taryn: I'm not exactly sure if I'm quite qualified to answer that question and maybe more from a health care standpoint and then from there, maybe a health care provider could give us feedback on how we can better address an issue within the, community. And then also from a policy perspective, if you will. So maybe if one of the health care providers can give some context,  so that we can certainly take that back to Dr Harris. In that regard,

Pepper: Nikki, Nancy. 

Nikki: So I will clarify that my specialty is little old people. And I don't. So in my nursing world.  Although, there are biases across the board, period and health care right. And so I do know that there was, and probably still is at women's hospital, there was a.  A simulation that they did a poverty simulation that had several different types of scenarios in it with the healthcare providers at their facility, and then they debriefed and they talked about how they would handle these different types of situations. And I will say that really does help to sit in those kinds of discussion type situations and having a conversation, but you have to be able to. Intentionally bring all of those people into a room together. And it's difficult because we work shift work, right? So being able to pull us in all at the same time and have a good, deep conversation about things is taxing. And I know that they got a grant to do that, whenever they did that. So just maybe model something like that around this particular topic and have those conversations with them, that would help. I know that just being able to be introduced to the concept of having these issues is new for some people. Not everybody has the lived experience to be able to have the empathy to ask the questions that need to be asked. Just keeping that in mind, I know that it really does help to put people into in situ simulations so that they can learn more about what people might be experiencing. 

Pepper: It's funny you should mention that. I was giving blood yesterday or the day before and talking with the young lady who was saying that from her perspective, we need to adjust the way it is that we approach med school. Mainly because, it's, they don't all go in  the way they come out. Anywho  Nancy's off camera so she's busy. Taryn, you ready for your rapid fire?

Taryn:  Let's go.

Pepper:  All right. How is Louisiana 40 by 30, by 2030, goals being incorporated, how are these goals being incorporated into the department's work?  

Taryn: Thank you, Reverend, and I know that's a Reverend Anderson question.

Pepper: It is, but you only got 20 seconds because we got more questions.

Taryn: 20 seconds. Number one, I will say step one has already been checked off and that the office has been created. Step two, community advisory board and hearing the specific concerns based off regions and then incorporating that into policies and programs that can best serve that particular region in order to help uplift and provide resources and education. 

Pepper: All right. Domestic violence is the elephant in the room and needs to be addressed with health care. Is there anything that your department is doing to address domestic violence and how it impacts? pregnancy. 20 seconds.  

Taryn: So in 20 seconds, we know and understand that domestic violence is a prevalent issue. And so not just in terms of reaching across  departments here within L. D. H. Reaching outside and looking at, for example, Office of Women's Health and their coalition that they have in connection with L. C. A. D. V. I believe it's called Louisiana Coalition. Against domestic violence and working with them. We are small but mighty and so we recognize where we can partner with people in order to help lift and connect and make that bridge in terms of assisting with various issues.  

Pepper: LDH has done a lot of studies. Are y'all going to be using the research in your, in the new department? Oh, thank you, Amy. All right. I love short answers. Stop writing things in the chat. Y'all keep moving my screen. Fine. We'll just go on to something else. If an uninsured woman becomes pregnant and applies to Medicaid and  to end the pregnancy would Medicaid approve? With Medicaid approved terminating a pregnancy but more importantly, is her pregnancy a pre existing condition?   

Taryn: That is above my wheelhouse, I will just be honest and say that. And so I could probably, whoever that question is, I can, I see Marcella I'll take a picture of this question, shoot it over to Medicaid and get it, get back with you. 

Pepper: All right. Are there any education programs or initiatives that are focused on clients recognizing lesser known or dangerous symptoms that are pre or postpartum that there are doctors to be  made aware of? That is an absolutely awesome question because going back to that conversation that we were having earlier. That education piece we are in works of putting together essentially a program to really do just that to inform, educate and essentially empower people with knowledge or not just, Questions that they can ask their doctor, but also we have to understand that doctors and other health care providers they have to be informed as well from the patient standpoint. And yeah, to that, stay tuned. 

Pepper: All right.  Malpractice. Do y'all know if there's any recourse for for patients? Who or their families for a physician not listening to them particularly Nancy, do you have any medical recourse for being pushed outta the state into somewhere else in order to get care that you needed? 

Taryn: So I'll just say in my attorney had to I practiced for about 10 years before, but male med mal is a recourse, but those cases are difficult. I will say that. And yeah, 

Nikki: for clarification. Are you talking about for the provider for the family  for wait?

Pepper: I don't understand the question. You're  bringing suit against the right if it's medical  malpractice, that would have to be the family. Or the client or the patient doing the provider and or the facility. What you got? 

Nancy: In my situation, it was just a lot of red tape around that topic. And it was something that I didn't want to put my family through and put myself through. So it was way more hurdles and difficulty than you think, to actually file a malpractice lawsuit. And I would also like to piggyback on the question you asked about, I think you asked it about Medicaid covering, terminations or whatnot. Whenever I went through that ordeal, they did not cover it.  

Nikki: Yeah, I was gonna say that they don't, they won't cover that.  

Nancy: Unfortunately, Medicaid and most insurances don't cover terminations. 

Nikki: That's an elective. I guess they call that. And they won't cover it. 

Pepper: Even if it seems necessary.  

Nikki: Yes, Tia. I was going to say that. 

Pepper: We'll talk off camera, Tia. Excuse me. We're not about to open this can  of worms today. 

Nancy: Put it on the floor.  

Pepper: Look. Y'all talking about medically necessary living in a state where we, our version of birth control is abstinence. Come on now. Let's let us not pretend. Let us not pretend. Let us not pretend that most of us did not go to school with people who came from the Rhythm Method. Let us not pretend. Let us remember. Thank you for the head tilt, Nikki. You don't know. Don't sip your tea, Taryn. Anyway.  

Taryn: I'm in a different capacity now. Be gracious with me. 

Pepper: Okay. We are at  925 and I only ask y'all for an hour. So I'm going to let you go. Thank you so much for being here today and sharing with us not only your experience, but your knowledge. If you haven't already, I think you have, but I want to make sure please put your program, your initiative, your project. With contact information in the chat so that we can indeed get in touch with you. For those who want to volunteer, who want to support, who want to be aware, keep advised, maybe go out there and do some educating because information is not education. I don't remember who said that, but I am quoting you from the chat. Otherwise, ah, my color twin. Color family twin. Anyway thank y'all again. Really appreciate you being here. And with that said, what's going on this weekend in Baton Rouge, y'all? 

Nikki: We have Diaper Distro tomorrow, from 12 to 2. If you're interested at all, I just dropped my phone number in there. You can just call me and I'll tell you where it's at and you can come by and at least witness it and see what we do. 

Pepper: Fantastic. I got a text this morning from Pat LeDuff. I haven't seen her here, so I'm guessing she's not all, which is why she sent this message. We are celebrating Black History of Month on behalf of.  It's going to be at the Good Goodwood Library, garden Cafe to tomorrow. There'll be some mobile museum browsing from 10 to 12, and then there's a Black History program from 12 to 2. And Reverend Anderson dropped something in the chat about  small print. I can't see the phone.  Oh, yes. And, oh, Marcella, your hand is up. Please let us know.  

Marcella Hernandez: Good morning. Okay, so tonight there is the Night Market Baton Rouge  2024. There's going to be music, food, entertainment. This is going to be in downtown and this is to celebrate the Lunar New Year and to welcome the Year of the Dragon. So this is an Asian event. It's from 6 to 9 p. m. We also have the parade, South Downs Parade here in Baton Rouge.  And next week I put it on the chat. We have the love kills free clinic. So this is going to be from six in the morning to 8 p. m. February the 17th. I also dropped it on the chat before. So please tell all of your community members, we're going to have free dental or vision. And general medical we're gonna have interpreters, we're gonna have breast breast screeners, we're gonna do breast cancer screeners, we're gonna do pharmacy we're gonna have all kind of stuff, so please share them with your community. Thank you.  

Pepper: Thank you, ma'am. Nicola Hall. 

Nichola Hall: Good morning, everyone. Hello. Always a pleasure to join you guys on a Friday morning. I just want to always use the opportunity to lift up EBR Child Nutrition Program. We have summer meals applications starting now. Please share out EBR To all organization, if there is a summer enrichment program or summer camps, as long as their kids there, we will feed them. We will come to you. We will make it happen, but fill out the application and join us for a virtual meeting. Thank you.  

Pepper: Thank you, Nichola Hall. And we are about a week and change week and a half away, but we're going to be talking a bit more about some of the work that Nicola has spearheaded through cafe for summer feeding. Doesn't look like we are going to get the summer EBT for a number of reasons, but you can hear all about that in the cafe meeting which will be Wednesday week after next. We kept to this, whatever. Reverend Anderson. 

Rev. Anderson: Good morning, Pepper. I'm still trying to process going to school with people who are the result of the rhythm method. I'm sorry. You always drop one. Can I say that? So I wanted to make several announcements because some of them are really bad and some of them are really good. So on February 15th will be the kickoff ceremony for the Veterans Treatment Court in the 19th JDC. That was one of the flyers I put in there. And I think a lot of times people don't realize Louisiana is a very veteran populated state. And oftentimes people come back from many things. And end up just as impacted because of a lot of reasons. And so while this court will only quite frankly, serve maybe 5 percent of that population because of the constraints of it, it is still an important change. And so that's going to be at two o'clock on the 15th. The general public is certainly welcome, but I especially want to make a shout out to our speakers today. There are lots of women veterans. And when I talk about special populations, oftentimes we, we have certain boxes in our head, but there are a lot of women veterans and a number of them end up. Unfortunately and injustice impacted situations. So that's one. The second one is on Friday, February 23rd. I'm so proud that the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition will be hosting the 2024 No Entry Symposium using data to identify opportunities for transformative States.public safety in East Baton Rouge Parish, and we are going to have the one, the only, the most amazing 2023 MacArthur Genius Award winner, Professor Andrea Armstrong, who will be here in our little capital city blowing the roof off. So I can't say enough. Please register. You're going to need to register. But. We are going we have a lot of data sets that we have never had before. And so we are going to have an amazing collection of presenters giving us data we need to hear about and just found out while I was on this call. We are also going to have a special presentation on the child death report of 2023. The data we need to make decisions is often very siloed. And so the point is, we want to put as much of that in the same room with the people who need it. And then last but not least, I cannot stress this enough, it is Mardi Gras. And most of you know that I work with families that are justice impacted, lots and lots of people have protective orders,  and they cannot be around certain people in their families. I am asking a shout out because oftentimes people don't realize that. And so they use these events to bring family together, and oftentimes it can create a risk. to people who are justice impacted. Also, somebody who has a felon conviction often cannot be around people who have guns in their possession, whether it is in their car in their house at the parade route. And again, we are pushing a campaign called Know Your Barriers.  Sometimes people don't mean to be part of the problem, but they are because they don't know the limitations that people who are justice impacted. Have to live within. So I'm just giving a PSA shout out for that. And then the last message I just want to make is please push the narrative about 988 988 is a mental health resource  that anybody in the state in the country can call.It is not 911, 988 is not just for suicide. It is for anybody who has mental health  needs doesn't have to be in crisis. Very specific ways to get into there for very specific populations, but 988 is a critical new tool, and we know a lot of people just don't know how it works. That's it,  and thank you Pepper for covering me last week, I appreciate that.

Pepper: Of course. Thank you all for being here. You know how much I appreciate you spending part of your Friday morning with me. Thanks again to all of our speakers, even those of you that we dragged in the last second so we could hear more about public services and community services that are available. Please, if you have an opportunity to go in here about Andrea Armstrong's work, it is absolutely incredible. She has been getting hate mail since the article came out on how Angola is supplying large food distributors food. And you should know. My thing is food, so there's that. Otherwise we hope to see y'all back here next Friday. Same bat time, same bat channel. Have a great weekend. Bye y'all. 


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