NOVEMBER 5, 2021


Kimberly Seals Allers  | 347.671.7779

Ascension St. John becomes first Michigan hospital to launch ‘Birth Without Bias’ pilot to reduce Black maternal deaths

New project uses Irth app reviews and ratings from parents of color to improve patient safety, and promote more dignified birth experiences.


New York, N.Y. —Narrative Nation Inc., a tech and media non-profit, and creator of the Irth app, announced a new pilot partnership with Ascension St. John Hospital to become the first hospital in Michigan developing new standards of prenatal and postpartum care and quality improvement based on the feedback of Black and brown birthing people and new parents.

Irth, as in the word Birth but without the B for bias, is the first of its kind Yelp-like review and rating app for parents of color to leave and find reviews of Ob/GYNs, birthing hospitals, and pediatricians. The qualitative reviews in the app are turned into quantitative data to provide hyper-local, community-centered feedback to hospitals, and create new metrics of care based on the Black patent experience with a goal to make births safer, more respectful, and equitable.

Detroit’s maternal death rate is three times higher than the national average, and pregnant Black women are 4.5 times more likely to die than white women. 

“We are excited to get to work in Detroit centering the lived experience of Black mothers and birthing people in developing hospital practices that improve the safety, quality, and outcomes for birth,” says Kimberly Seals Allers, a maternal and infant health strategist and founder of the Irth app. “Every Black mom in Detroit deserves to birth with respect and dignity. We invite all Detroit hospitals to join our pilot partnership and center the lived experience of Black mothers to achieve birth justice and equity.” 

“We are honored to be the first hospital in Michigan to partner with Irth to capture community voices from a truly independent source to complement our system-sponsored anti-bias work. Our goal is to assure that our evidence-based Baby Friendly practices are accessible to our Black and brown birthing families in a way that honors their lived experience in the Detroit area,” said Paula Schreck, MD, IBCLS, FABM, Medical Director, Breastfeeding Support Services, who also leads the working group for the pilot project.

Mothers and fathers who have given birth at Ascension St. John in the past two years are encouraged to download the Irth app and leave a review to help be part of a new data set that will drive transparency, accountability and ultimately change birthing experiences at Ascension St. John.

The free app, which launched in the Google Play and Apple app stores in March, also accepts reviews from doulas and hospital based midwives. Learn more at Follow @theIrthApp on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Narrative Nation is a New York City-based tech and media non-profit that creates multi-media and digital platforms to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health. Irth is grant funded by the Tara Heath Foundation, Grove Foundation and California Health Care Foundation.

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