Oakland, CA—September 29, 2017
The Association for Wholistic Maternal & Newborn Health recently honored Mills College Provost and Dean of the Faculty Chinyere Oparah, at this year’s Birthing Justice Forum and Maternal-Child Health Champion Award Ceremony, with the Visionary of The Year award. Oparah received the award for exemplar and paradigm-shifting models of childbirth and/or maternal and infant health, causing significant social change or improvement in childbirth nationally, locally, or internationally.
The award recognizes Oparah for the work she has undertaken to shift the conversations around reproductive health by putting black women and childbirth at the center, and using research justice as a tool to foreground black women's experiences of control, coercion, and neglect in the maternal healthcare system. Her work includes the publication of Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth, and the forthcoming human rights report Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Crisis in Maternal Health Care in California. The report features birth stories gathered from 100 black women who gave birth at home, hospital, and in birthing centers in Northern and Southern California.
Oparah has been teaching at Mills College since 1997. Her professional interests include African diaspora studies, black British studies, black feminist theory, women of color organizing, transnational prison-industrial complex, women and transgender prisoners, and black women and childbirth.