Improving Equity in Birth Outcomes

(From L to R) Rebecca Polston (Owner and Director, Midwife Roots Community Birth Center) and Rachel Hardeman (Associate Professor and Blue Cross Endowed Professor in Health and Racial Equity, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota)


Since 2016, Hardeman and Polston have partnered to reimagine pregnancy and childbirth for families in the Twin Cities. As the only Black- owned birth center in Minnesota, Midwife Roots Community Birth Center seeks to solve some of Minnesota’s racial disparities in maternal and infant health. The team has studied the center’s innovative model of care and used its research to inform state and national policy. At the core of their partnership is a commitment to ensuring that every person who wants to be a mother has the opportunity to do so in a safe, loving, and
affirming environment. To represent their partnership, Hardeman and Polston chose a wood carving entitled Mother's Tenderness that symbolizes a mother's love and devotion as she holds her child tenderly in her heart.